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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Talking Turkey

Press Release Date:  Monday, November 19, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786  

Keep Your Food Safe This Thanksgiving

Food is a major part of the Thanksgiving celebration - and a time to keep in mind food safety guidelines issued by the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH).

From preparing to serving to storing, there are many tips to remember to prevent food contamination and the spread of foodborne illness this holiday season.

“Proper hand washing is the most effective way to keep food and guests safe,” said Christine Atkinson, manager of the DPH food safety branch. “It’s also very important that you keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean.”

DPH suggests:

· Safe Food Handling: Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean. Always serve food on clean plates – not those that previously holding raw meat or poultry. Otherwise bacteria that are present in raw products can cross contaminate the food to be served.

· Clean:  Wash and sanitize food contact surfaces often. To sanitize utensils, immerse for 30 seconds in clean, hot water at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or immerse for at least one minute in a clean solution of one teaspoon of 5.25 percent household bleach per 1 gallon of water.  Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.

· Thaw properly:  Proper methods for thawing a turkey include: thaw in a refrigerator with the temperature of 41 F or less (allow 3-4 days for thawing); place under cool running water at a temperature of 75 F or less; or thaw in microwave and cook the turkey immediately.

· Cook thoroughly: If you are cooking foods ahead of time for your party, be sure to cook foods thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures:

· Beef, veal, lamb, steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 140 F
· Pork, 150 F
· Ground Beef, 155 F
· Poultry, 165 F
· Reheating of any of the above foods, 165 F

· Use a metal stem thermometer to check meats at the thickest part.

· The two-hour rule - Foods that sit out on the buffet table,  and are exposed to numerous self-serve diners, should be discarded after two hours.

· Hot foods should be held at 140 F or warmer.

· Cold foods should be kept cold, at least 45 F or below.

Use refrigerated turkey and stuffing within three to four days. Use gravy within one to two days. If freezing leftovers, use within 2-6 months.

 “Following some basic food safety tips helps make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone,” said DPH Commissioner William Hacker, M.D.

Please visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ food safety branch Web page at or call Pam Hendren at (502) 564-7181, ext. 3715.





Last Updated 11/19/2007