Follow the food safety tips to help keep yourself and your loved ones happy and healthy this holiday season. Photo by Kiyun Lee on Unsplash

Time to talk turkey

Five food safety tips for the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – a time to enjoy good company and great food. As you spread joy this holiday season, take extra precautions to ensure you are not also spreading food-borne illness.

Follow the food safety tips below from Interior Health’s Kevin Touchet, Manager of Environmental Health, to help keep yourself and your loved ones happy and healthy this holiday season.

Tip 1: Store and thaw turkey safely

There are two ways to safely thaw a frozen turkey in its wrapper. These include:

· In a clean sink full of cold water, changing water every 30 minutes (minimum 1/2 hour per pound). If the turkey cannot be completely covered by the water, rotate the bird every 30 minutes.

· On a tray on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator (five hours per pound). Make sure your turkey is on a tray big enough to catch any thawing liquid.

Do not thaw turkey at room temperature because it allows harmful bacteria to grow.

Do not try to thaw a turkey in the microwave. The outside temperature will be raised but the internal core could still be frozen.

Fresh and thawed turkeys should be refrigerated for no longer than three days before cooking.

Tip 2: Clean carefully

When preparing any holiday treats or meals, be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before prep work begins.

Once your prep work is done, clean surfaces with hot soapy water, rinse, and then sanitize. Sanitizing can be done with a diluted bleach solution (two tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water / 18ml per 4.5L of water) that is left to sit for two minutes.

Tip 3: Avoid cross contamination

Store raw meat away from food that is ready-to-eat, including fruit and vegetables. Turkeys should be wrapped well and stored on a large tray on the lowest shelf of your fridge, or in a meat keeper, to keep juices from contaminating other food.

Ensure only clean utensils and cutting boards are used when preparing food. Use a separate cutting board and utensils to prepare raw meat.

Wash hands frequently in warm soapy water, especially after handling raw meat.

Tip 4: Cook well

For turkey, set the oven no lower than 350°F (177°C) and cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound.

While 20 minutes per pound is a good guide, there are a number of factors that will determine actual cooking time needed. It is always best to use a meat thermometer to measure the turkey’s internal temperature to ensure its safe to eat.

All parts of the turkey, including stuffing, should be at least 165°F (74°C) when removed from the oven. Health Canada recommends an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C) at the thickest part of the meat as additional assurance. Check the temperature in several places to be sure.

Cooked food should be kept hot at 140°F (60°C) while waiting to be served.

Tip 5: Refrigerate

Chill food immediately after returning from the store and soon after finishing a meal. Perishable food should be placed in the refrigerator within two hours of being removed from the oven.

Health Canada recommends refrigerating leftovers for no more than two to three days. Put leftovers in the freezer to keep them longer.

For more information, visit www.interiorhealth.ca, follow us on Twitter @Interior_Health, or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InteriorHealth

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Fruitvale

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Trail Blazers: Looking at the pioneers of leadership

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

MP reflects on Okanagan-Kootenay travels

Richard Cannings is in his second term as MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Person steals sound system, Ipad from Rossland restaurant

Mook Thai Lounge staff have had to buy a new sound system at a cost of $700

Cancelling ‘Not an Option’ for Kidney March 2020

Kidney March organizers knew this year was going to look very different.

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

North Okanagan man chains himself to tree in protest of construction

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Most Read