Let’s talk “turkey” safety

71554075Thanksgiving celebrations include large meals with family. Safe food handling in the kitchen is a key part to preventing food poisoning mishaps. To keep your friends and family safe during this holiday, the Minnesota Poison Control System at Hennepin County Medical Center has a few suggestions.


Thawing: Most foodborne illness causing bacteria grow rapidly between 40° and 140°F so proper thawing is important.

  • Plan ahead to allow approximately 24 hours for each 4-5 pounds of turkey in a refrigerator set for a temperature of 40°F or below
  • Place turkey in a container to prevent raw juices from flowing into other foods

Preparation: Ensure that hands, utensils, and work surfaces used for preparing turkey are thoroughly cleaned to prevent cross contamination to other foods.

139547047Cooking: Cook turkey in a pan at least 2” deep with the breast up. Ensure oven is at least 325°F and the turkey in completely thawed. Internal temperature of the turkey should reach at least 165°F. Internal temperature can be checked using a food thermometer inserted to the center of the breast, thigh, or wing joint.

Leftovers: Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or below within 2 hours of preparation to minimize potential for foodborne illness.

The Poison Center and Hennepin County Medical Center wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

The Minnesota Poison Control System is staffed with specially trained pharmacists who can also assist you with medication questions or other poisoning concerns. All calls are free, confidential and we are available 24/7. Calling the poison center first can save a needless emergency room visit 92% of the time, so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. For further questions, contact the Minnesota Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222. Visit us on the web at www.mnpoison.org or follow us on Twitter @mnpoisoncenter