Doctor gives answers to food safety questions

(NC) -- No one wants their holidays ruined by an uninvited guest called Salmonella, a bacteria commonly associated with foodborne illness. Each year, thousands of Ontarians suffer from foodborne illness due to improper food handling.

To prevent this from happening at your house, Dr. Robin Williams, acting Chief Medical Officer of Health with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, is giving answers to the most commonly asked questions:

Q: Let's talk turkey. What's the best way to prepare it?

A: Raw or undercooked poultry may be contaminated with bacteria. Cook thoroughly by using a food probe thermometer to test the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh. While cooking a full bird ensure the internal temperature reaches 82ºC (180ºF) for 15 seconds. For turkey parts, ground poultry or stuffing, temperatures must reach 74ºC (165ºF) for 15 seconds.

Frozen poultry should never be thawed on the counter – keep it refrigerated at 4°C or below, until it is fully thawed and ready to cook.

Q: What about stuffing the bird? To stuff, or not to stuff?

A: Using stuffing inside the cavity of the bird is perfectly fine provided you're accurately measuring the temperature, 74ºC (165ºF), with a food probe thermometer.

Q: How long do turkey leftovers last?

A: Harmful bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature. Refrigerate or freeze food quickly within two hours or cooking, by placing in shallow dishes, and reheat leftovers to 74° C (165°F) or warmer prior to serving.

For additional tips on holiday food safety,


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