Millions of Americans get sick from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thanksgiving is a time to be especially careful, as Americans prepare dishes, like turkey, and large meal that they do not cook on a regular basis. Many are also preparing food for larger numbers of people which can be risky. With million turkeys cooked this holiday, there’s no better time to encourage families to safely prepare their meal by following four simple steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.
USDA food safety specialists are also available to ensure safe food handling for this important holiday meal and can answer questions such as: How long does it take to thaw a turkey? Should I wash my turkey? Should I stuff my turkey? How long do I cook my turkey? How do I know when my turkey is ready to eat? How do I use a food thermometer?
For advice about how to safely prepare the turkey and all other menu items this Thanksgiving season, consumers can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) email MPHotline@usda.gov or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If anyone needs last minute help on Thanksgiving Day, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Visit FoodSafety.gov or follow FSIS on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety using the hashtag #FoodSafeThanksgiving or on Facebook at Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov for the latest food safety tips.