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 safely stuff your Turkey to avoid contamination
USDA does not recommend stuffing your turkey because it can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not prepared carefully. However, if you plan to stuff your turkey, please keep the following in mind:
- The wet and dry ingredients for the stuffing should be prepared separately from each other and refrigerated until ready to use.
- Stuff the turkey loosely — about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound.
- Immediately place the stuffed, raw turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 F.
- A stuffed turkey will take longer to cook. Once it has finished cooking, place a food thermometer in the center of the stuffing to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 F.
- Let the cooked turkey stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing.
For more information on turkey stuffing, visit Turkey Basics: Stuffing.
The two-hour rule on how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey