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National Restaurant Association - 5 food safety tips for Thanksgiving

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5 food safety tips for Thanksgiving

Cross contamination can happen at almost any point in the flow of food. From preparation to service, it’s important to know when and how that can happen so you can prevent it. Here are five tips from our ServSafe experts to ensure you serve guests safely on Thanksgiving:

  1. Thaw your turkey properly. First, make sure your refrigerator has been set to 41° Fahrenheit or below. There are four acceptable ways of thawing food: as part of the cooking process, in the microwave, running under cold water or in the refrigerator. However, for a turkey or any product of that size, ServSafe recommends thawing in the refrigerator or following instructions on the package.
  2. Store foods in clean containers. Make sure containers are leak-proof and sealable. When storing uncooked turkey in the refrigerator, make sure it sits on the lowest shelf and away from any foods that will not be cooked, like desserts, salads or fruits.
  3. Clean and sanitize surfaces. After preparing your turkey and placing in the oven, be sure to clean and sanitize all of your work surfaces such as cutting boards and knives.
  4. Cook your turkey to the correct internal temperature. Always use a reliable thermometer to check the temperature. To ensure the turkey has reached the correct internal temperature, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat and thigh. The temperature should reach 165° Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
  5. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. During preparation, it’s a best practice to prep cold food items first so they can be stored in the refrigerator before service. Conversely, prepare hot foods closer to the time of service so they can be served immediately.

    Visit ServSafe for more information on food safety.
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