Thanksgiving Food Preparation Safety

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When cooking food for Thanksgiving, make sure you think safety to protect yourself and others who will be eating.

Ashley Hoffman, educator with the Illinois Extension unit that includes Bond County, said the most important thing when preparing food is to thoroughly wash your hands. She said you need to continue to do it throughout the process, to prevent cross-contamination. Separate cutting boards should be used for different food, which will also prevent cross-contamination. Be sure to cook food to the proper interior temperature to avoid bacteria.

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There obviously will be leftovers after Thanksgiving and Hoffman addressed that topic, too. She said they should be refrigerated within two hours of your meal. Perishable food that has been left out for more than two hours should be thrown away. Refrigerated leftovers should be good for 3-4 days. Frozen leftovers should be eaten within 4 months. Leftover stuffing made in the turkey should not be stored inside the turkey. They should be refrigerated separately.

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More information is available on the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service website.

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