Take care cooking holiday turkey

first_imgThanksgiving is right around the corner. Plates will soon be filled with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie — and a side of salmonella?Each year, an estimated 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norovirus and salmonella pathogens account for 69 percent of those illnesses, according to the CDC.This holiday season, health officials and food safety experts are offering advice to keep foodborne illness off of the Thanksgiving menu.The food with the most potential to cause illness is the main attraction — the turkey.Frozen turkeys should never be left out on the counter to thaw. Meat or poultry left in the “danger zone” between 40 degrees and 140 degrees foster the perfect environment for bacteria to rapidly multiply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.One safe way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, which takes about 24 hours for every 5 pounds. With that method, a 20-pound turkey would take about four days to thaw, said Sandra Brown, food safety and nutrition faculty at Washington State University Clark County Extension.Another method is to submerge the frozen turkey, enclosed in a leak-proof bag, in a sink of cold water. The water will need to be changed every 30 minutes to ensure the turkey doesn’t rise above 40 degrees, Brown said.“You can’t put it in there in the morning and go off to work,” she said. “Eventually, that water is going to get warm.”last_img