HEALTH

Food safety tips to keep in mind on Thanksgiving

Nov 23, 2023, 7:00 AM

turkey and thanksgiving dinner shown -- food safety is especially important around the holidays...

(Tetra images RF/Getty Images)

(Tetra images RF/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Local health officials are reminding Utahns to take extra food safety precautions when serving their Thanksgiving and other holiday meals this year. Officials said cases of food poisoning spike around the holiday season.

Andrea Gamble, an environmental health scientist with the Salt Lake County Health Department, told KSL NewsRadio 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses each year.

“So if you break that down that means 1 in 6 Americans will get sick just from eating food,” she said.

To avoid food poisoning, the SLCoHD recommended keeping your hands and kitchen surfaces clean. Also, keep certain foods separate to prevent cross-contamination, cooking things to the correct temperature and chilling/storing food properly.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website provides a detailed breakdown of the steps you should take to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Turkey safety

Holiday spreads like Thanksgiving can be a haven for food poisoning if you’re not careful. Especially when turkey is your main dish.

For those cooking turkey, don’t wash it.

Gamble said the best way to kill bacteria is to cook it properly. Washing a turkey can spread harmful bacteria to other items in your kitchen.

“When you’re washing your turkey, there are small microscopic germs that are all over the kitchen. And one study even found that salmonella can get in a water molecule and can spread 15 feet across the kitchen,” Gamble said.

The U.S. HSS website has resources on keeping turkey safe and sanitary from the time it’s frozen raw in your freezer to when it’s in the fridge in leftover containers.

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Food safety tips to keep in mind on Thanksgiving