HOUSTON (KIAH) — Every year, Americans look forward to enjoying Thanksgiving with family and friends. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still top-of-mind, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds us all that it’s also important to keep family and friends safe from foodborne illness this Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times to remind people about food safety,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I personally know how much effort it takes to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal, and I always ensure I’m following safe food practices like handwashing, using a food thermometer and avoiding cross-contamination.”
By following the tips below, you’ll lessen the chances of having a visit from foodborne illness — an unwelcome visitor — at your table this Thanksgiving.
How to avoid cross-contamination when making your Thanksgiving meal
In a recent study (PDF, 1.7 MB), USDA found 60 percent of kitchen sinks were contaminated with germs after participants washed or rinsed poultry. USDA advises against washing your turkey; however, if you do wash your turkey in the sink, it must be fully cleaned and sanitized afterwards. To clean, rub down surfaces — including the sink, cutting boards and counter tops — with soap and hot water, and then sanitize them with a cleaning solution to remove any residual germs. You can use a homemade solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. Let the surfaces air dry. Be sure to use separate cutting boards—one for meat and another for vegetables and fruit.