Carolyn Bell, RDN – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Here is how to keep a turkey safe and healthy to eat. To avoid bacteria contamination: 1. SAFELY thaw turkey by defrosting it in cool temperatures (in the refrigerator), and expect approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. Never thaw turkey in warm or hot water; bacteria thrive in warm temperatures. 2) Turkey meat should be cooked to 165 degrees to ensure it is completely cooked and safe to eat. 3) Cooked turkey can remain unrefrigerated for up to two hours. After two hours, food needs refrigeration to ward off bacteria growth (below 40 degrees). Always cool the turkey (or any food) in shallow pans before refrigeration. Hot foods stored in deep pans can remain warm too long and hold temperatures ideal for bacteria growth. This Thanksgiving, follow these food safety guidelines and keep your turkey safe, healthy and delicious!