Turkey Safety tips from the government...just in case you are a complete moron.
If you ever wonder what the government spends a good deal of our tax dollars on, here is a good example. Below you will find the contents of a page on http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca. You can read the entire thing there or just scroll down here. It is basically an idiot's guide to selecting, storing, cooking, eating and storing your turkey again. You probably don't need to know any of this stuff, but just in case you have someone in your family/friend circle who is a total f#@cking moron, you might want to have a look. Maybe it will give you something to chat about during that uncomfortable time with relatives this Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy!
Turkey Food Safety
Food plays a significant role in many celebrations. Turkey is often served at these events. It is always important to follow safe food-handling practices to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading and causing foodborne illness.
At the grocery store
- Buy cold refrigerated foods at the end of your shopping.
- Check the "best before" date on fresh turkeys. Although these dates do not guarantee product safety, they do give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened foods you are buying.
- Place the raw turkey in a separate plastic bag at the bottom of the cart to prevent it, or its juices, from making contact with other food items in the grocery cart.
- Place the turkey in a clean container or a plastic bag that will hold any leaking raw juices.
- Refrigerate or freeze the turkey immediately when you get home from the store.
- Place the turkey on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent contaminating other foods.
- Cook fresh turkey within no more than two (2) to three (3) days after purchasing. If you do not intend to cook it within this time, it should be frozen.
- Well-wrapped turkey can be kept safely in the freezer. For best quality, frozen turkey should be properly cooked and consumed within one year of purchase.
Frozen whole turkey can be thawed safely in the refrigerator or in cold water. Thawing your turkey at room temperature is discouraged because this can lead to bacteria growing on the turkey.
- Place the turkey breast side up in a clean container or platter that will hold any raw juices that leak out of the turkey.
- Place this container or platter on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent contaminating other foods in the refrigerator.
- Allow one day per 1.8 kg (4 lbs) of turkey for thawing.
- Cook the turkey immediately after it has thawed.
Immersion in cold water
If you choose to thaw your turkey in water it can be done in two ways:
- Method 1:Under cold running drinking water:
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize the sink before thawing the turkey.
- The turkey should be wrapped in a leak-proof bag or container to prevent cross-contamination.
- Run cold water on the turkey until it has thawed.
Method 2:Soak the turkey in cold drinking water:
- Use a clean container to hold the turkey.
- Wrap the turkey in a leak-proof bag or container to prevent cross-contamination.
- Place the turkey breast side down and cover with cold water.
- Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the surface of the turkey cold.
- Keep doing this until the turkey is thawed.
- Allow one hour of defrosting time for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of turkey.
Once the turkey has thawed, remember to check for giblets and remove them (if there are any) and cook them separately. Cook the turkey immediately after it has thawed.
To help avoid cross-contamination, remember to thoroughly wash your hands, and clean and sanitize the sink and all other utensils and dishes that came into contact with the raw turkey or its juices.
Cross-contamination can be a major challenge when preparing several different dishes at the same time. Cross-contamination happens when harmful bacteria are spread between people, food, surfaces, and/or equipment.
To avoid cross-contamination:
- Keep the raw turkey and its juices away from other food to prevent foodborne bacteria from spreading in your kitchen and contaminating other food.
- Use separate dishes and utensils for raw and cooked or ready-to-eat food.
- Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry.
- Rinsing raw turkey is not necessary and it can spread bacteria wherever the water runs and splashes, creating a risk of foodborne illness.
- Clean and disinfect kitchen surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw or partially cooked food, including raw turkey and its juices.
- Never slowcook a turkey! Cook it in the oven until it reaches a minimal internal temperature of 85°C (185°F).
- Use a digital food thermometer to ensure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature. Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that meat is safe to eat.
- Take the temperature in the thickest part of the breast or thigh meat and make sure the thermometer is not touching any bones.
- Follow the manufacturer's directions on the proper use of your specific food thermometer.
- Always wash the food thermometer and other utensils and dishware that were used on raw or partially cooked foods before using them to check foods again.
- Cook stuffing separately in the oven in its own dish, or on the stove top.
- If you choose to stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before roasting, and remove all stuffing right after cooking.
- Stuffing should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).
- Use a digital food thermometer to check that the stuffing has reached a safe internal temperature.
- Serve the turkey and stuffing immediately.
- Keep food out of the danger zone, which is between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F), to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Keep hot food hot with warming trays, chafing dishes or crock pots, at a temperature of at least 60°C (140°F).
- Keep cold food cold at 4°C (40°F) or lower by placing serving dishes on crushed ice.
Remember not to add new food to a serving dish that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours. Change or clean the dish as well as your serving utensils.
When travelling with food, certain precautions should be taken to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Hot food
Wrap hot food in foil and heavy towels, or carry in insulated containers to maintain a temperature of at least 60°C (140°F).
Store cold foods in a cooler with ice or freezer packs to maintain the temperature at 4°C (40°F) or below. Full coolers keep their temperature better than partially full ones, so add extra insulation to take up unoccupied space.
Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours to minimize the chance of bacteria growing.
- Divide leftovers into shallow containers so they cool quickly. Refrigerate them once steaming stops and leave the lid loose or wrap loosely until the food is cooled to refrigerator temperature.
- Store turkey meat separately from stuffing and gravy.
- Avoid overstocking the refrigerator, so that cool air can circulate effectively.
- Foods such as fully cooked turkey and potatoes can be consumed cold (for example: turkey in a sandwich, or cold potato salad).
- Reheat other solid leftovers to at least 74°C (165°F). Bring gravy to a full, rolling boil and stir a few times while reheating.
- Use leftover turkey meat, stuffing, gravy and other cooked dishes within two to three days or freeze right away for later use.
- Punch yourself in the face, twice.