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Keep Thanksgiving Foods Safe - Protect Your Family

November 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2006 (USDA News Release) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is providing consumers with key recommendations they can use to help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during the Thanksgiving holiday.

USDA's new nationwide food safety public education campaign, Be Food Safe, encourages people to put four easy to remember tips ? Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill ? into practice in order to be food safe during the holiday.

  • Clean - Wash hands, surfaces and utensils often to avoid spreading bacteria when preparing food. Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
  • Separate - Use different cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and veggies. When you prepare Thanksgiving dinner, keep the raw turkey away from vegetables and side dishes that won't be cooked.
  • Cook - You can't tell it's done by how it looks! Use a food thermometer. Every part of the turkey should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165F.
  • Chill - Keep the fridge at 40F degrees or below to keep bacteria from growing. Pumpkin pie should always be refrigerated and leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours.

"Thanksgiving dinner can be a challenging meal to prepare because it is complex and time-consuming," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond. "When you factor in thawing the turkey, cooking the turkey, preparing side dishes and desserts ? and the other duties that come with hosting a gathering with family and friends ? it is easy to forget that food safety is the most important factor in determining whether the meal is an enjoyable one."

To help ensure that Thanksgiving meals are as safe as possible, USDA's is offering numerous food safety resources for consumers.

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