Bacteria are all around us. While most are harmless to humans (some are even beneficial), others can make you sick.
Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Frequent cleaning can keep that from happening. Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Cross-contamination is how harmful bacteria spread. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood and their juices away from foods that won’t be cooked.
Even for experienced cooks, the improper heating and preparation of food means bacteria can survive. Use a food thermometer – you can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.
Turkey is cooked when the meat thermometer reads 170°F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey, or 180°F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey and the juices run clear. Insert meat thermometer in the thickest part of the inner thigh, but not touching the bone. Turkey cuts such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings are cooked when the digital meat thermometer inserted into the meat, away from the bone, registers 165°F (74°C).
Bacteria multiply fastest at temperatures between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F), so chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.