Thanksgiving Safety

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line will stay open until December 24.
Meanwhile, while you are in the kitchen, there are some simple steps to remember to help you and your guests stay safe over the holiday.

In the midst of the holiday hoopla, it’s important to know that the day does come with some dangers, as Thanksgiving is the number one day for fires started in the kitchen.

With more folks cooking, and all burners blasting, there’s a higher risk for an errant potholder or towel to light up, or for a grease fire to catch.

“If you do have a grease fire, take the top of the pan and put it right on top and suffocate it,” said Lieutenant Vince Hanlon with the Naperville Fire Department. “I’ve heard people putting baking soda, I wouldn’t recommend that because you have to put your hand on top of the burning oil in order to shake it on there and so you could get burnt.”

Other safety issues in the kitchen come from the food. After handling your raw turkey, as with any meat, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of bacteria.
And before you lay that bird down, consider its placement.

“I would recommend always doing is to disinfect your surface before you do it, so you can get chlorine based wipes that are already premade, just wipe it down, just read the label to make sure you can use it near food, do that first,” said Mike DeSmedt, Environmental Health Supervisor. “Then always start with the bird first, clean it off, wash it off, get the bird ready to go, then when your done, disinfect once again the surfaces, cause that’s where our cross contamination can happen, we don’t want the juices from the bird cross contaminating with other food that’s ready to eat.”

One of those other foods, stuffing-a popular plate, but cooking it the traditional way may not be the safest.
“The main recommendation is not to stuff the turkey, cook it on the side, but if you’re one of the people that has to do that, what I would recommend is reheating that stuffing once its out of the turkey to 165 degrees to make sure it got to that, so any of the blood of the juices from the actual turkey that may carry some diseases can be killed by the cooking process,” said DeSmedt.

Chances are, you probably have some leftovers after the big meal. Proper storage can make all the difference.

“With anything, four hours is all it should be out for, and then cut it down, break it down to smaller pieces, take all the meat off the turkey, don’t leave the bone, take it off, put it in smaller containers, cut the breast into smaller pieces, it’ll cool down quicker it’ll be safer that way,” said DeSmedt.

Don’t forget about the kids too, remember to turn your pot and pan handles inward on the stove in order to prevent spills.

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