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Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Ensure Thanksgiving Dinner Doesn’t Make Your Family Sick

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Whether your favorite part about Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey or one of the sides, you have to make sure it’s all properly prepared and stored to keep your family safe.

That means following the USDA’s guidelines.

“You want to make sure you prevent cross contamination,” said Laura Scott with the USDA. “You definitely don’t want your family getting sick on Thanksgiving, so one suggestion is if you normally like to prepare stuffing, USDA recommends cooking it outside of the bird and cooking it in its own casserole dish.”

Rinsing off your raw turkey is another no-no. Scott said 25% of the people they surveyed actually contaminated their side salads this way.

Along with the do not’s, there are plenty of do’s.

“The basics of food safety … are clean, separate, cook and chill,” Scott said.

Clean means to wash your hands often along with the countertops and cutting boards.

Separate means to keep raw meats away from other foods.

The food should be cooked thoroughly, and a food thermometer should be used to verify it’s been cooked to the right temperature.

And the food should chilled in the fridge promptly. Food should only be left out at a maximum for two hours at room temperature.

If you find yourself asking questions as you prepare the Thanksgiving meal, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.. They will be taking calls on Thanksgiving Day.

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