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Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips


Thanksgiving dinner is one of the largest meals prepared every year. We all know the pressure that comes with getting it “just right.”  Whether you’re a seasoned pro or tackling your first Thanksgiving meal, has some great tips for making sure your meal is not only delish but safe to serve as well!

·      Check label for freshness: Temperature labels show if the bird is fresh or frozen. If you plan to serve a fresh turkey, purchase it no more than two days before Thanksgiving.

·      Purchase two thermometers:  One is a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the turkey is stored at 40 °F or slightly below and the other is a food thermometer,   to make sure the cooked turkey reaches a safe 165 °F.  Checking the food thermometer to see if the turkey is completely cooked is critical for making sure you don’t have a turkey that looks done, but is raw in the center. It’s happened to just about everyone at one time or another! Check the turkey’s temperature by inserting the thermometer in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing. Another type of food thermometer is one that is oven safe and can be inserted into the turkey before you place it in the oven. Place the probe from the top of the turkey (near the neck cavity) horizontally to the deepest part of the breast; making sure it's not touching the bone.

·      Thawing a frozen turkey: Before a frozen turkey can be cooked, it needs to thaw. To thaw by refrigerator: Plan ahead - allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods or shelf. Cold water thawing: Allow about 30 minutes per pound. First be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product. Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours depending on how many pounds the turkey weighs. Microwave thawing: This one is tricky but convenient. Since microwaves heat at different temperatures, follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instruction when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. If you’re not sure about the amount of time – call the manufacturer or check online to see if there are instructions for your model.

·      Steps to take when cooking a turkey: Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before touching any food to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness. Do not wash the turkey. This only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. The only way to kill bacteria that causes foodborne illness is to fully cook the turkey. Keep raw turkey separated from all other foods at all times. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils when handling raw turkey to avoid cross-contamination. Wash items that have touched raw meat with warm soap and water, or place them in a dishwasher.

Congratulations! You’ve prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey and there is plenty left for other meals and sandwiches. What do you do next? The first thing is to refrigerate any left overs within 2 hours after the meal is finished. Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to decrease cooling time. This prevents the food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (between 40 °F to 140 °F). You can also freeze any leftovers. Do not store stuffing inside a leftover turkey. Remove the stuffing from the turkey, and refrigerate the stuffing and the meat separately. Avoid consuming leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator for longer than 3 or 4 days (next Tuesday to be exact). Use the freezer to store leftovers for longer periods of time. And if guests want to take some of the remaining turkey and dressing with them (and who doesn’t?), keep leftovers in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs if the food is traveling home with a guest who lives more than two hours away.

The staff wishes you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Daily Dose

July 4th Food Safety Tips

2.00 to read

Whether it’s spending the day at the lake, by the pool or in the backyard, Americans love a good July 4th celebration. And you can bet there will be plenty of food shared by families and friends!

It’s never a bad idea to review food safety tips especially if you’re going to be cooking and serving food outside.

A little planning and the right tools should will help make sure no one ends up with a bellyache or worse, food poisoning.

Here are the basics in a nutshell:

Keep everything clean. That includes your hands, knives, cutting boards, eating utensils and preparing and cooking surfaces.

Soap and water is the best method of cleaning but may not be convenient. Use prepackaged sanitizing towels or make up a small bucket of diluted bleach solution (2 oz. bleach to 1 gallon water) to use when wiping up spills or cleaning surfaces.

Make sure your hands are clean.  Use soap and water to scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. If washing your hands often isn’t practical, keep hand sanitizer close by and use it each time you handle raw meat, poultry or fish.

Avoid cross contamination. Separate meat, poultry and fish. Package raw items in plastic bags or sealed containers so that spilled juices don’t contaminate other foods.

Never put cooked meat back on the same soiled plate used to transport it while it was raw. Use a clean serving dish for food taken from the grill.

Use separate cutting boards and knives to steer clear of cross contamination. Pork and beef may be cut on the same surface, another for chicken and one more for fish. Using pre-sliced breads, cheese or vegetables to eliminate the need for additional knives and boards.

Make sure foods are thawed correctly. The best method to fend off bacteria is to thaw food in the refrigerator. Make certain that juices from thawing food do not drip into other items. Some food may be defrosted in the microwave or under running cold water. Never thaw food at room temperature, except breads or desserts that are recommended to defrost at room temperature.

Use a thermometer. Make sure your food is cooked thoroughly to kill bacteria that can make someone sick. Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of grilled meat or chicken for doneness. Beef, lamb or veal should be no less than 145º F for medium rare. Chicken or turkey pieces are done at 170ºF and 180ºF for duck. Most prepared foods should reach 165ºF to be safe. Cook in small batches and serve immediately.

Food that is ready to eat needs to be kept hot or cold, as appropriate for each dish. Hold cold food at less than 40ºF and hot food above 140ºF. Any temperature between 40ºF and 140ºF is in the danger zone, ideal for bacteria growth.

If in doubt – don’t eat it. Condiments such as ketchup, mustard and pickles do not require careful temperature monitoring during use but should be refrigerated to extend the product life. Bread, rolls and cakes usually are okay at room temperature at any time. If something doesn’t smell or look right to you or you think it may have been sitting out too long – toss it. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.

These food tips are applicable any day of the year, but it’s easy to get in a rush when there are lots of people ready to chow down. Take your time, plan ahead and remember to have a wonderful and safe July 4th!



Kitchen Towels Loaded With Harmful Bacteria


Two of the most used items in kitchens would have to be cloth kitchen towels and paper towels.  According to a new study, they are also the most contaminated objects in your kitchen.

I use both kitchen towels and paper towels – a lot.  I’ve often wondered about cross-contamination depending on what foods I’m preparing for dinner.  Cross-contamination refers to the accidental transfer of potentially hazardous germs from one surface to another.

Preparing meats and poultry always give me cause for concern because of the wrappings (filled with liquid) and all the places I touch after handling them. No matter how many times I wash my hands and the surfaces I’ve touched, I still have to dry my hands and that’s when I usually grab a kitchen towel or a paper towel.

That’s why the results from this study aren’t surprising.

Kansas State University researchers asked 123 people to prepare a recipe using either raw ground beef or chicken, along with a ready-to-eat fruit salad. The participants did the food preparation in a kitchen set up on the campus.

A harmless type of bacteria was placed in the raw beef and chicken in order to trace levels of meat-associated contamination spread during meal preparation.

"First, participants were observed frequently handling towels, including paper towels, even when not using them for drying. Towels were determined to be the most contaminated of all the contact surfaces tested," lead researcher and food safety specialist Jeannie Sneed said in a university news release.

Many participants touched towels before washing their hands or used them after inadequate washing of their hands, she said. Even after they washed their hands properly, the participants reused the towels and re-contaminated their hands, according to the study in the journal Food Protection Trends.

Sneed advises that you wash the cloth towels after using them while preparing a meal, or use paper towels and throw them away after each use.

Her team found that more than 90 percent of the fruit salads prepared by the participants were contaminated with the tracer bacteria. This shows that if the tracer had been a harmful germ such as salmonella, there was a high risk of foodborne illness.

Four out of five participants also left raw meat contamination on the sink faucet, refrigerator, oven and trash container, the study found.

What can you do prevent cross-contamination during meal preparation? The Minnesota Department of Health offers these tips on their website:

During food preparation:

·      Wash hands and surfaces often. Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this:

·      Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers; or handling pets.

·      Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills.

·      Wash kitchen towels often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

·      Wash cutting boards, dishes, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

Cutting boards:

·      Always use a clean cutting board.

·      If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

·      Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them.

Cellphones are another potential source of kitchen cross-contamination, the researchers found. Moreover, many participants used cellphones during meal preparation and didn't clean them properly.

"We often take our cellphones and tablets into the kitchen," Sneed said, "but what about all the other places we take them? Think of how many times you see someone talking on their cellphone in places like the bathroom, where microorganisms such as norovirus and E. coli are commonly found."

If these devices are used in the kitchen, Sneed recommended wiping their surfaces with a disinfectant.

I’ve certainly been guilty of using my cell phone and computer while cooking. With so many recipes just a click away, I’ve been back and forth between the ingredients and the computer countless times. I do clean the keyboard with a disinfectant when I remember – which honestly, isn’t every time.

The study is a good reminder to stay on top of cross-contamination while preparing foods. I’m not sure that there is a way to prepare meats and poultry where every bit of bacteria is removed from preparation surfaces and our hands, but we all can be more aware of cross-contamination and take the extra steps to prevent foodborne illnesses. And don’t forget to wipe down those electronics either!

Sources: Robert Preidt,


Recall: 8 million Cuisinart Food Processors


Food processors are used in millions of American homes to prepare family meals. One popular brand, Cuisinart, is recalling about 8 million of its food processors due to mouth lacerations and tooth breakage.

The food processor’s riveted blade can crack over time and small metal pieces of the blade can break off into the processed food.

This recall involves the riveted blades in Cuisinart food processors with model numbers that begin with the following:  CFP-9, CFP-11, DFP-7, DFP-11, DFP-14,  DLC-5, DLC-7, DLC-8, DLC-10, DLC-XP, DLC-2007, DLC-2009, DLC-2011, DLC-2014, DLC-3011, DLC-3014, EV-7, EV-10, EV-11, EV-14, KFP-7 and MP-14.

The model number is located on the bottom of the food processor. The blades have four rivets and are silver-colored stainless steel and have a beige plastic center hub. Only food processors with four rivets in the blades are included in this recall. Cuisinart is printed on the front and on the bottom of the food processors.

Conair, the management group for Cuisinart, has received 69 reports of consumers finding broken pieces of the blade in processed food, including 30 reports of mouth lacerations or tooth injuries.

Consumers should immediately stop using the food processor’s riveted blade and contact Cuisinart for a free replacement blade.

The food processors were sold at department, gourmet and specialty stores nationwide and on various websites from July 1996 through December 2015 for between $100 and $350.

Consumers can contact Cuisinart toll-free at 877-339-2534 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday or online at and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information on the voluntary recall.

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