Most Common Sources Of Food Poisoning From Thanksgiving Dinner

Food PoisoningJust in time for Thanksgiving dinner comes an announcement that over 150 people have been sickened by food poisoning from turkey over the last year, and one person has actually died. Making matters worse is the fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the salmonella strain that caused the outbreak has not been traced back to its source – and that means that no recalls have been requested and the problem might still exist.

Nobody wants their guests to get sick from eating their food. Not only would it be a terrible memory, but if somebody gets truly ill from food poisoning, you could potentially be held legally and financially responsible if they were to file a premises liability lawsuit against you. To make sure that your holiday (and your guests’ holiday) is happy, here are some tips for avoiding the most common sources of food poisoning from Thanksgiving dinner.

  • One of the first things most people do when they unwrap their holiday turkey and prepare it for cooking is to rinse it out and off. This may seem like a precaution against bacteria but actually is just the opposite. If there are salmonella bacteria on your turkey’s surface, it will be killed during the cooking process if it is cooked correctly. However, rinsing could send the bacteria into the sink or close surfaces, where it could encounter other foods, plates or utensils.
  • If you’re buying a frozen turkey, it is tempting to just let it sit out on the counter at room temperature, especially if you haven’t given yourself enough defrosting time. Room temperature is an invitation to bacteria. If you have the time, leave the turkey in the refrigerator – it takes about 24 hours for every 5 lbs. of weight. If you’re short of time, use the cold-water method where you place the wrapped turkey into a bucket of cold water, constantly replacing the water. This method takes about 30 minutes per pound.
  • You know that handy pop-up timer that the turkey company places in the bird? Forget about it – it’s not a reliable gauge of whether the turkey is cooked through or not. The only accurate method of determining interior temperature is to use a meat thermometer. Your turkey is not cooked (and fear of salmonella not eliminated) until the temperature in the thickest areas reaches at least 165 degrees.
  • Don’t think of the outdoors as a refrigerator or freezer. Even if the air temperature is below 32 degrees, once the sun hits your food, it heats up.
  • Get rid of leftovers after four days.

Enjoy your holidays safely! And if your guests fall ill from food poisoning, contact Wallace Law for help.