Tips to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey safely

The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit reminds residents to make sure you and your guests remember the Thanksgiving turkey dinner for all the right reasons by preparing the bird properly.

Proper food preparation and cooking for a large group is important to avoid foodborne illness.

Make “cook, clean, chill and separate” a part of your kitchen rules when you prep your turkey by following these tips:

· Make your fresh turkey the last item you pick up while shopping and use a separate bag for the bird to catch any leaking juices that could contaminate other groceries and surfaces. Refrigerate it as soon as you can.
· If you buy a frozen turkey make sure to thaw it in the fridge, microwave or under cold running water. Do not thaw a frozen poultry at room temperature – it allows harmful bacterial to multiply.
· Before and after handling the turkey wash your hands in warm water with liquid soap. Wash and sanitize all utensils, wiping cloths, countertops and cutting boards.
· Cook turkey to at least 82 C (180 F).
· When carving your turkey use a clean plate and utensils. Do not re-use utensils that have touched raw turkey unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water, and sanitized.
· Leftovers should be refrigerated promptly. Your refrigerator should be 4 C (40 F) or colder so that bacteria cannot multiply.

For more tips on preparing your turkey properly, call Health Connection Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or see