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Canadians Reminded Of Turkey Safety This Thanksgiving

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Cooked turkey is a central part of many holiday celebrations in Canada - especially Thanksgiving. Health Canada would like to remind all Canadians that there are simple steps they can take to help ensure their turkey feast is a safe one.

Adopting standard safe cooking and safe handling practices (clean, separate, cook and chill) reduces the risk to yourself and your family from undercooked turkey and stuffing and from cross contamination during preparation.

Health Canada reminds you:

* Store your turkey in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after it is purchased.

* Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature. Thaw turkey in the refrigerator or in cold water.

* If you thaw your turkey in cold water, keep the turkey in its original wrapping and change the cold water regularly to ensure that the water remains cold.

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* Do not rinse raw turkey. This can spread bacteria everywhere the water splashes, creating a safety hazard.

* Clean and disinfect surfaces and kitchen utensils touched by raw turkey or drippings from thawing turkey.

* Use a food thermometer, and cook turkey until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh is at least 85?C (185?F).

* Cook stuffing separately in its own oven dish or on the stove top. If you do stuff your turkey, stuff loosely just prior to roasting, and remove all stuffing immediately after cooking. Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74?C (165?F).

* Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours of cooking.

Turkey poses particular food safety challenges because it can be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.

It is estimated that there are between 11 million and 13 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.