These Cooking Mistakes Could Ruin Your Thanksgiving, Food Safety Experts Say


Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and, of course, food. yields good results. Dried turkey may taste like cardboard, but undercooked turkey can make your guests sick with food poisoning.

Food poisoning is caused by eating or drinking anything contaminated with disease-causing germs such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, the top foodborne pathogens in the United States are Salmonella, Norovirus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus aureus. These can contaminate many foods, including: thanksgiving favorite Like turkey, TODAY has previously reported, especially if the food isn’t handled or cooked properly.

Symptoms of food poisoning, such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, usually go away on their own within a few days, but can be severe or fatal, as TODAY previously reported. Children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are most at risk. According to the CDC.

From first-time cooks to experienced chefs, it’s important for everyone to take steps to prevent foodborne illness and keep guests safe. Here are the most common food safety mistakes people make when cooking for Thanksgiving, and how to avoid them, according to experts.

not washing hands often or often

Washing your hands before, during, and after cooking is an essential food-safe habit not only on Thanksgiving, but also when you’re preparing meals for others. “Cleaning your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before you start preparing them can be very helpful in reducing the amount of bacteria on your hands,” says Robert Gravani, professor emeritus of food sciences at Cornell University. tells

Unwashed hands can introduce pathogens into food, where they can grow and multiply, says Gravani.

Frequent hand washing also helps prevent cross-contamination when handling raw turkey and other uncooked perishable foods, says Gravani.

Scrub your hands with soap and water and dry with a clean towel. A quick rinse under the tap and wipe with an apron is fine.

Cooking or handling food when sick

I planned, shopped, and got everything prepped to get the kitchen up and running on Thursday morning. But if you feel sick, you may need to look for alternatives. According to the CDC, avoid cooking for others For at least 2 days while you are sick and after symptoms stop.

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may be signs of norovirus. Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted to other people through contaminated food and unwashed hands. According to the CDC.

Those with symptoms of COVID-19 should test soon As TODAY previously reported, avoid gatherings with other people until you feel better.

Cooking with open or infected cuts on hands

If someone has an infected cut or burn on their finger, the bacteria could actually be introduced into the food during cooking, says Gravani. For example, when mixing stuffing with bare hands.

These bacteria can invade food and begin to grow, producing toxins if the dish is left unattended for a period of time, and can cause disease if consumed later. No one wants to leave a mark.

Use the same cutting board or utensil for everything

It is important to keep raw chicken and meat separate during cooking to avoid cross-contamination. “He wants to use one cutting board or plate for raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and another for produce, bread, and other uncooked foods,” he says. says Mr.

The same goes for utensils such as kitchen tongs, spoons and spatulas. If you plan to cook all your Thanksgiving dishes on the same cutting board and utensils, strict hygiene is required.

“All these utensils should be thoroughly cleaned after touching raw poultry or meat,” says Gravani. Cutting boards, countertops, and other utensils should be thoroughly washed in hot, soapy water after each food preparation, says Ford.

Undercooked food with raw eggs and raw flour

Raw eggs and raw flour are common ingredients in Thanksgiving foods such as pies, cookies, cakes, casseroles, and fillings.

Yes, most flour is actually raw, Dr. Laura Ford, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, tells

According to the CDC, this means it’s not treated to kill bacteria, so it should be cooked properly. Otherwise, you may get sick. Raw eggs and raw flour can be contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, or other bacteria, says Ford.

That means, don’t eat cookie dough or anything with raw flour and raw eggs that isn’t fully cooked. US Department of AgricultureAll dishes, including these, should be cooked until an internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to bring home your favorite Thanksgiving dish but aren’t sure if you should pack your bags, here are some tips from the TSA for getting through security.

washing raw turkey in sink

“Don’t wash your turkey or poultry,” says Gravani. The presence of salmonella and other bacteria can splatter and spread across kitchen sinks, counters, and other surfaces, and can contaminate other foods, such as uncooked perishables.

So don’t wash your turkey. “The USDA recommends that you don’t do the same,” says Gravani.

Thaw the turkey at room temperature on the counter

A common Thanksgiving food safety mistake many people make is leaving frozen turkey on the counter to thaw, says Gravani.

This is because leaving the turkey at room temperature for more than two hours allows the defrosting turkey, or at least part of it, to remain in the “danger zone,” or between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, Ford says. increase.

When raw turkey enters the danger zone, existing organisms like salmonella grow and multiply rapidly, says Gravani.

“Even if the core is still frozen, the temperature becomes unsafe because bacteria can grow,” says Ford.

Not planning or timing the thawing process

There are three ways to defrost a turkey: refrigerator, cold water, and microwave.

“Every four to five pounds of turkey takes 24 hours in the refrigerator,” says Gravani, adding that if you’re thawing a 20-pound bird, you should start the process four to five days in advance. Planning ahead is very important. Ford says turkey should be stored in a sealed bag or container to prevent its juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator.

Then there is the cold water method. This is a bit faster, but be careful. “First, make sure the original packaging is intact so water doesn’t leak and drown your bird,” he says Gravani. The cold water should be changed every 30 minutes until the turkey is defrosted, and Gravani says it takes him 30 minutes for every pound of turkey.

“The last option is the microwave,” Gravani says, checking your microwave’s manual to see the right power level to use and how many minutes per pound of turkey it takes to defrost. “Sure, the size of the turkey is going to be an issue. Some turkeys are very big, some microwaves aren’t,” Gravani says. .

Waiting to put the thawed turkey in the oven

Once the turkey has been properly thawed using one of the methods above, it should be cooked immediately, or as soon as possible.

This minimizes the amount of time your turkey sits at room temperature in dangerous zones where bacteria can grow and multiply quickly, says Ford.

stuff a turkey with stuffing

“I recommend putting the stuffing in a casserole dish…this makes it easier to make sure the stuffing is fully cooked,” says Ford, inserting a food thermometer in the center to He added that it should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“You get the same great flavor and everything, but much safer,” says Gravani.

Use your eyes instead of a meat thermometer to determine if a turkey is done

“You can’t tell doneness just by the color or texture of the product,” says Gravani, adding that turkeys are much larger, making it more difficult to tell if the whole thing is fully cooked. I’m here.

“A food thermometer is the best way to know if the product is finished and if those organisms have been killed,” says Gravani. Gravani adds that it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Let cooked food sit for more than 2 hours

It’s fairly common to serve Thanksgiving food buffet style, where people are seated while they enjoy their meal and come back for a few seconds or a third of the time. But cooked or perishable foods take about two hours before they need to be saved and refrigerated, Gravani says.

Bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens bacteria can produce spores and can be stored at room temperature or danger zone (between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit) over two hours, Ford says.

Doesn’t check refrigerator temperature

Gravani says the refrigerator temperature should be set at least below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps everything cool enough and at a safe temperature. This is especially important if your refrigerator fills up with hot leftovers.

Ford says the freezer should be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This will completely freeze leftovers.

Place a whole turkey or casserole dish in the refrigerator instead of a small container

Instead of covering a large plate of turkey meat or stuffing with foil and putting it in the fridge, cut these items into small pieces first and place them in several shallow containers, says Ford.

Storing food in small containers makes it easier to cool and reheat, says Ford. Experts point out that all leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and you can use a meat thermometer for accuracy.

This story first appeared TODAY.commore from today


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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