Thanksgiving Food Safety Facebook Chat

Uploaded by usda on 24.11.2009

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\f0\fs24 \cf0 Amanda Eamich: Hi, everyone and welcome to the Food Safety and Inspection
Service live Facebook chat about Thanksgiving food safety. \
We have an expert from the food safety meat and poultry hotline to answer any questions
you have about preparing for and actually cooking on the day of Thanksgiving. \
I know I\'92m excited; this is my favorite holiday. So hopefully you all have some great
questions. \ And Diane is here to answer all of our Thanksgiving
food safety questions. \f1 \
\f0 Diane Van: Well, Amanda, this is a wonderful time to be here to talk about preparing the
annual bird. \ I think oftentimes we don\'92t prepare large
pieces of meat throughout the year so when we\'92re approaching Thanksgiving holidays
then we start to think, how do we do that? \
So it\'92s a wonderful time to start thinking about planning ahead and because we have a
week now to get ready for Thanksgiving and we can plan ahead. Making sure that you know
what\'92s going to be on your menu, planning your menu, thinking about what foods you already
have in the house that you don\'92t need to purchase or what you need to go out and purchase.
\ Also, making sure that your refrigerator is
cleaned out, using up those leftovers, so that you have plenty of room in your refrigerator
should you need room to defrost a turkey. \
Also, another thing that\'92s really important is make sure you have all the equipment you
need, like a roasting pan, cutting boards, but most importantly, that you have a food
thermometer. \ And if you don\'92t have one, you have plenty
of time to purchase one and so that you\'92ll know your turkey has reached a safe, minimum
internal temperature of 165. Very important piece of equipment.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: Well we have some questions queuing up as well as some that were sent in from
people that couldn\'92t join us live today\'97probably at work still.\'a0\
So let\'92s jump right in. Michelle asks, holiday meals tend to have so much kitchen
activity; food prep, dishes to wash, and sometimes only one sink. Can you talk about the best
way and how often to wash hands during all of this preparation?
\f1 \
\f0 D: Washing hands is very important; you need to wash your hands before and after you
are handling meat and poultry and actually any food. Make sure you wash, get them thoroughly
clean. \ You\'92re supposed to wash your hands for
about 20 seconds. And a good way to remember that is singing happy birthday twice. We often
tell consumers to wash their hands and sing happy birthday twice. \
But it\'92s very, very important to wash them before and after handling any meat or poultry
products and any food. \f1 \
\f0 AE: That\'92s an important tip and easy to remember with the happy birthday song.
\ Anisa from Colorado Springs asks, how long
can food be left out after eating and what\'92s the best way to cool food in a timely manner
for storing? \f1 \
\f0 D: A very important question. It\'92s important to get those leftovers in the refrigerator
as quickly as possible. We always recommend that food not sit out any longer than 2 hours.
\ So get your leftovers, especially during the
Thanksgiving meal we often set all of the food out on a buffet or on the table and we\'92ll
have dinner and then as soon as dinner\'92s over get those leftovers back in the refrigerator.
\ As I said, we should not let food sit out
longer than two hours. And if you\'92re in one of the areas of the country that is warm,
say the temperature is above 90 degrees, it really should not sit out longer than one
hour. \ So get the leftovers in the refrigerator as
quickly as possible in covered containers so that they cool quickly. If you\'92re preparing
a large turkey, cut the turkey into smaller pieces. \
You don\'92t have to slice the breast meat but cut them into smaller pieces. Take off
legs and wings and get those into the refrigerator as quickly as possible after you\'92ve finished
eating. \ I know we talk to people often and they\'92ll
leave it out on a buffet to snack at after. And not a good idea.
\f1 Get it in the refrigerator. \f0 \
AE: Now speaking of large turkeys, how big of a turkey, if I haven\'92t bought one yet,
should I buy? I mean how do you know how much to cook?
\f1 \
\f0 D: When you\'92re going to the grocery store to purchase that turkey, plan on buying
about a pound of turkey for every guest that you\'92re having. Now that\'92s raw turkey.
So it will, a lot of weight will be lost as it\'92s cooking. So plan on about a pound
of turkey per person. So if you\'92re having 16 guests, then a 16 pound turkey is what
you would plan on. Now if you want some leftovers, you can get a pound to a pound and a half
for plenty of leftovers. But plan on a pound per person.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. David is asking, I know we should remove stuffing from the turkey before refrigerating.
But is it safer to not cook the stuffing in the turkey at all?
\f1 \
\f0 D: The safest way to prepare stuffing is in a casserole. Prepare your stuffing,
with dry ingredients and the wet ingredients; you can do that the day before, when we were
talking about planning ahead. \ You can prepare your wet ingredients and your
dry ingredients; keep them separate in the refrigerator. And then just at the last minute,
combine them together, put them in a casserole dish and bake them in the oven at no lower
than 325 degrees. \ And the stuffing is finished cooking when
it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees in the center or in the thickest part. So it\'92s
important to measure the temperature of the stuffing even when you\'92re cooking it in
a casserole dish. If you stuff the turkey, then you have to make sure you follow some
guidelines. \ Again, prepare the wet and dry ingredients
ahead if you choose and then combine then just before you put the stuffing in the turkey.
Then stuff the turkey loosely and you can plan about a \'bd\'a0cup to a cup of stuffing
per pound of turkey. Stuff it loosely. And you can bake it in the oven at 325 degrees
or above. \ Again, critical to take a temperature reading
of that stuffing. And the meat thermometer, or food thermometer in the center of the stuffing
should reach 165 degrees. \ Put the stuffing in just before you\'92re
going to cook the turkey and then once you take turkey out of oven, remove the stuffing
after you\'92ve let the turkey sit about 20 minutes. But take then take all of the stuffing
out to serve. \f1 \
\f0 AE: That\'92s great. For those of us that might not remember those numbers, I know I
have a hard time with them, we also have a virtual online representative, Karen, who
is available 24 hours. \ You can ask her questions any time. And you
can find her at www.{\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK ""}}{\fldrslt
\cf2 \ul \ulc2}}. \f1 \
\f0 Some other questions, speaking of fresh turkeys, let\'92s see. Janet is asking, if
it\'92s too soon to buy a fresh turkey that she doesn\'92t plan to freeze?
\f1 \
\f0 D: If she\'92s planning on cooking that turkey on Thanksgiving Day, it is definitely
too early to buy the fresh turkey. \ A fresh turkey should be purchased just one
to two days before you\'92re going to cook it. So if you\'92re planning on cooking your
Thanksgiving turkey on Thanksgiving Day, you wouldn\'92t want to buy it before Tuesday.
\ And then, if you\'92re not going to cook it
then, or something happens, you\'92re invited out to dinner, then you can put that fresh
turkey in the freezer. But it\'92s important to just buy a fresh turkey one to two days
ahead of time. \f1 \
\f0 AE: Now what about freezing? If we have a frozen turkey; I don\'92t know, I probably
have one in my freezer somewhere. When should I start defrosting that?
\f1 \
\f0 D: It\'92s important to plan ahead for defrosting a turkey. A turkey will take about
a day for every four to five pounds; or I should say 24 hours for every four to five
pounds. \ So if you\'92re buying or planning on serving
a 16 pound turkey, you\'92ll want to put that in your refrigerator as early as this Sunday,
if you\'92re cooking it on Thursday, on Thanksgiving. \
So you\'92ll put it in the refrigerator on Sunday and let it slowly defrost. If it finishes
defrosting early, say a day or two before Thanksgiving, or before you\'92re going to
cook it, that\'92s perfectly fine. \ A turkey can remain in the refrigerator one
to two days before you\'92re going to cook it after it\'92s finished defrosting. So a
16 pound turkey, again, will take about three to four days.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. That\'92s good to know. Let\'92s see, what else do we have here? What about
leftovers? How long can I keep them? What are some good uses?
\f1 \
\f0 D: Well leftovers is sometimes the best part of meal. And I don\'92t want to lose
any of those. So after 2 hours, get your leftovers in the refrigerator and put them in smaller
containers, shallow containers so that they cool quickly. \
It is most important to get them in the refrigerator quickly than it is to let them cool down before
you put them in the refrigerator. So get your leftovers in the refrigerator. \
You can keep your leftovers in the refrigerator for three to four days. If you don\'92t plan
on eating all of the leftovers, then put them in the freezer. And leave some in the refrigerator
to eat right away. \ But you can freeze them as soon as possible.
But three to four days. \f1 \
\f0 AE: What about Ziploc bags? Is it OK to put sliced meat in a Ziploc bag or some kind
of plastic pan? \f1 \
\f0 D: Yes, it\'92s perfectly safe to do that. If the bag is intended for food storage then
it\'92s safe to store those foods in the bag. \
You wouldn\'92t want to use something that\'92s not intended for food. But any storage container
intended for food or any plastic bag intended for food is perfectly safe.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: Let\'92s see. Anisa has another question, again in Colorado Springs. \
So she\'92s new to high altitude. Is there anything different with cooking a turkey in
higher altitudes than at sea level? \f1 \
\f0 D: There are recommendations for cooking turkeys at high altitude. There are very specific
guidelines for that. And I would recommend that she go to our website and we have a piece
on our website on cooking meat and poultry at high altitudes. \
When you\'92re cooking meat and poultry at high altitudes it tends to dry out more quickly.
So you need to follow guidelines that are going to help keep that moisture in. \
And if she goes to the USDA FSIS website or go to Ask Karen she can get the specific guidelines
on how to cook that and how to much sure it\'92s a nice, juicy turkey. I know it does take
a lot longer. \f1 \
\f0 AE: Definitely something else to budget into your day. \
D: Exactly.\ AE: Let\'92s see, what other questions do
we have in advance? This is an interesting one. My mother always stuffs her turkey the
night before. Is that safe? \f1 \
\f0 D: No. \f1 \
\f0 AE: OK, and part two, I thought I\'92d let you answer that first, part is, and I
got up, ands she gets up early in the morning to cook the turkey at lower temperatures through
the night. \f1 \
\f0 D: It\'92s very important to not cook at low temperatures. Turkeys cook rather quickly.
And at least they cook much quicker than they used to. So we recommend cooking, getting
up at your regular time in the morning and depending upon when you\'92re going to have
your Thanksgiving meal, that\'92ll determine how long it a turkey will take to cook. \
If it\'92s going to be an unstuffed turkey, a turkey between 14 and 18 pounds is going
to take about 3 \'be hours to 4 hours to cook. So you don\'92t need to get up in the m idle
of the night to do that. And the temperature of the oven should be no lower than 325 degrees.
\ I know years and years ago people used to
love to cook their turkey at like 250 degrees and that\'92s very unsafe. It shouldn\'92t
be anything lower than 325 degrees. \ Now, that turkey that\'92s 14 to 18 pounds
that\'92s going to take 3 \'be hours to 4 hours, if you stuff it it needs to take a
little bit longer and that\'92s going to be about 4 to 4 \'bc hours. So a stuffed turkey
does need to take a little longer to cook. \
But again, be sure it reaches a safe, minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees on the
thermometer. And you want to check the turkey in several places; you want to check it in
the thigh, down in the deepest part, between the leg and the breast, in the wing joint,
in the breast, and if it\'92s stuffed, in the stuffing. \
All of those places should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. We know
some people like it cooked a litter higher than that and that\'92s personal choice. But
it should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. Now what about set time or rest time after it\'92s roasted?
\f1 \
\f0 D: When you take the turkey out of the oven, you want to let it sit for about 20
minutes. This allows the juices to be reabsorbed and allows the meat to cool down somewhat,
slightly. \ So then after about 20 minutes, remove the
turkey from the roasting pan and put it on a platter that you can use to carve it, remove
the stuffing\'97that\'92s a very important point, to make sure you take the stuffing
out if you\'92ve stuffed it--and then you can carve the turkey. \
Or some people like to take the whole turkey to the Thanksgiving table and dinner table
and do a presentation, and that\'92s very, very attractive. But it\'92s important to
make sure it rests for about 20 minutes \f1 \
\f0 AE: I like to fry my turkeys. I don\'92t know, something about the crisp skin just
does it for me. Are there any different food safety cooking tips for when you fry?
\f1 \
\f0 D: There are. Deep fat frying has become extremely popular for cooking the turkey.
And there are some points that we want to make sure people know so that they do it safely.
\ First of all, pick a location that isn\'92t
near the house or near a structure. Say a cement driveway or somewhere nothing around
it could catch on fire should some oil come over the top. \
Make sure you plan ahead and knowing the turkey, the size of the turkey. Put it in the pot
and pour water in up to the level of where you want the oil, then remove the turkey\'97and
the turkey should be in the original wrapping\'97take the turkey out and that is how much oil you\'92re
going to need. You can measure the water and that\'92s how much oil you\'92ll need for
frying it. \ Then make sure the turkey is defrosted. You
do not want to deep fat fry a frozen turkey, you want it completely thawed. That\'92s very
important. And take it out of the wrapper, dry it off. \
And don\'92t stuff it. That\'92s another thing that\'92s important. The oil should reach
about 350 degrees and then you want about three to five minutes per pound for that turkey.
\ Once you think it\'92s done, take the turkey
out, lift it out, and take a temperature reading in various locations, those three locations,
make sure it\'92s reached a minimum temperature of 165. That\'92s right. And then if it has
fine, if it hasn\'92t, you can lower it back in and finish cooking.\
AE: Now, with stuffing. Sabrina is asking, how long should stuffing cook for in order
to reach 165? Will it typically finish ahead of the turkey, or what\'92s the timing?
\f1 \
\f0 D: Yes, if you\'92re cooking it in a casserole, I think that\'92s what she means. The stuffing
should be put in maybe about an hour ahead. \
It all depends on how much you have, how large the casserole dish is, how thick the stuffing
in the casserole dish is and if you\'92re baking at 325 it\'92ll take a little longer
than if you\'92ve got your oven set at 350 or 375. But you can approximate about an hour.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. Let\'92s see, what else? Lots of questions about leftovers. I see everybody
is excited about those turkey sandwiches. \
Karen asks, can leftovers be frozen the day after Thanksgiving if kept in the refrigerator
overnight? \f1 \
\f0 D: They absolutely can. You can put your leftovers in the refrigerator, because a lot
of people like to then have leftovers a couple hours after the meal and have a nice turkey
sandwich. \ And you can leave some leftovers in the refrigerator
overnight and put them in the freezer what you have left or keep a portion out to eat
then, and freeze the remaining. You can keep leftovers in the freezer for three to four
months. \f1 \
\f0 AE: Oh, well that\'92s good. \ D: And in the refrigerator for three to four
days. I don\'92t remember if we said that but\'85\
AE: Three to four days, if it lasts that long in my household. Let\'92s see. Another question
we received in advance. \ I know I should use a thermometer while roasting
a turkey; where should I put the thermometer when it\'92s in the oven?
\f1 \
\f0 D: You want to make sure that you have a thermometer that can go into the oven. This
is a dial thermometer and it\'92s intended to be put into the meat, into the turkey,
and put into the oven. \ There are other types of thermometers and
we have one right here. This is an instant read dial thermometer. And this type of thermometer
can be put into the turkey only when you\'92ve pulled the turkey out to check the temperature.
\ These are not intended to stay in the oven.
There are also digital thermometers, and you can put those, use those\'85\
AE: Like one of these?\ D: Yeah, exactly. And you can put that in
the turkey when it\'92s outside of the oven as well. But the only type that really should
be in the turkey in the oven are the dial-type thermometers. \
AE: Now what about, there are some plastic things that come in the turkey sometimes;
the pop-up readers. Are those accurate? \f1 \
\f0 D: They are. A pop-up timer is accurate, generally within one to two degrees. But we
do always recommend that you check with a regular food thermometer in several places
to be assured that it has reached the safe temperature. But they are generally very accurate.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: Good. And for those of us that are just joining us, we do have a ton of resources
available online. \ If you\'92ve been following our turkey tweets
on Twitter, that\'92s the {\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK ""}}{\fldrslt
\cf2 \ul \ulc2}}, as well as videos that can help give you lots
of tips and tricks from meal preparation through the actual day and then leftovers afterwards.\
And that\'92s {\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK ""}}{\fldrslt
\cf2 \ul \ulc2}} and we even have some nice American Sign Language
videos for other folks as well. You can also find podcasts and other information at our
website, and I put that in the chat window but it\'92s {\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK ""}}{\fldrslt
\cf2 \ul \ulc2}}. \ And you can always call our fine folks at
the meat and poultry hotline like Diane, and that\'92s 1-888-mphotline. We also have a
lot of information available in Spanish. So lots of resources for people to check out
after today\'92s chat. \f1 \
\f0 D: And we\'92ll be open on Thanksgiving Day from 8 am to 2 pm eastern time and both
in English and in Spanish. We\'92ll have people there that can answer questions in English
and Spanish. \f1 \
\f0 AE: Good. Let\'92s see, what else do we have? I bought a new electric roaster this
year. Will it take same amount of time to cook as in the oven?
\f1 \
\f0 D: You know, electric roasters are becoming extremely popular. We are getting many questions
about electric roasters. They\'92re just as the same as if you were cooking in your oven.
\ You use the same temperature of 325 degrees
or above. And it\'92s a good thing to check the manufacturer\'92s instructions. See what\'92s
the maximum size turkey they recommend for the electric roaster. Sometimes it\'92s like
16 pounds or below. \ But they are the exact same as if you were
cooking in a conventional oven. It\'92s just the size that may vary a little; you may not
be able to use as large a turkey or put as large a turkey in that as you would a conventional
oven. \f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. What are some of the most popular questions you\'92ve been getting this year?
I\'92m sure you\'92ve been getting a lot of interesting questions from consumers about
food safety. \f1 \
\f0 D: You know, we\'92re getting a lot of questions this year about brining turkeys.
People are trying to brine their turkeys and enjoying it, I think. They tend to impart
a flavor and they tend to make the turkey juicier it makes the turkey more tender.
\ So the best way to brine their turkey is to
make sure you brine it in the oven. Put it in a food-grade plastic bag. And then you
make a solution of about \'be\'a0of a cup of salt to a gallon of water and then pour
that over the turkey. You want to make sure that you use a defrosted turkey. \
Don\'92t start brining a turkey that\'92s frozen. Put it in the refrigerator. It can
be in there for over night or up to two days. So you can start brining your turkey if you\'92re
going to cook it on Thursday, you can start brining it on Tuesday in the refrigerator.
\ Then let all of the brining solution out.
And you can stuff a brined turkey and cook it in the oven as you would any other turkey.
But brining is becoming very, very popular. \f1 \
\f0 AE: Good. Now let\'92s see here. Is it dangerous to roast a turkey in a disposable
aluminum pan? \f1 \
\f0 D: Absolutely not. Disposable pans are designed for cooking a turkey. If it\'92s
sold with the intention or for the purpose of roasting meat or any food, then it\'92s
perfectly safe to use one of these foil pans. \
They\'92ve become very popular and they\'92re disposable and often they\'92re used. But
it\'92s perfectly safe to use those. The important thing you want to remember is if a piece of
equipment is intended be used with food then it is safe to use that.
\f1 \
\f0 AE: OK. We\'92ve talked a lot about cooking and storing these types of things. What about
the actual preparation; what should people know about cutting boards and when I\'92m
chopping up my carrots to roast and potatoes with the raw turkey? What should we keep in
mind? \f1 \
\f0 D:\'a0 There are four basic things that you need to remember. Keep things clean. To
clean; keep things clean. \ To separate; keep your raw foods, like your
turkey, separated, and use two separate cutting boards even. Keep one cutting board for raw
meat and poultry and the other for say, bread, or when you\'92re preparing a salad. You don\'92t
want the raw juices from meat and poultry to come in contact with foods that are not
going to be cooked or further cooked. So it\'92s important to use two separate cutting boards.
That\'92s separate. \ Cook is the third of the four points. And
make sure you use a food thermometer. Cook to safe temperatures; safe internal temperatures.
\ And the fourth thing is chill. Make sure you
get leftovers in the refrigerator as quickly as possible. So clean, separate, cook and
chill. \ AE: Those are easy enough to remember I think.
Let\'92s see, we had another question about the pop-up thermometers, which are generally
accurate within one to two degrees, you said? \
D: That\'92s correct.\ AE: Let\'92s see. I think that\'92s about
it for today. I think as the weekend approaches people will probably be having Thanksgiving
on their mind a little bit more. \ But again we do have a ton of resources online.
You can ask Karen anytime, www.{\field{\*\fldinst{HYPERLINK ""}}{\fldrslt
\cf2 \ul \ulc2}} and call our meat and poultry hotline. Maybe you\'92ll
get Diane and she can help you with your questions. \
Thank you so much and we hope you have a safe and happy holiday.
\f1 \
\f0 D: Yes. Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays. \f1 \
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