Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

An important part of making happy memories with your family this Thanksgiving is avoiding risks such as food poisoning that may commonly occur at this time of year.

One in six people throughout the United States becomes sick from food poisoning annually. Common Thanksgiving staples such as turkey, beef, and gravy can transmit contaminants such as salmonella and clostridium perfringens, leading to a variety of potential symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

Contamination can occur before your purchase, during food prep, or at any other point up until dinner is eaten, meaning that preventing foodborne illness will require effort from your whole family in a few different ways.

During food prep, you should:

  • Store frozen turkey at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below until it’s ready to thaw.
  • Thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator, microwave, or cold water.
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing your turkey.
  • Keep produce or other foods on separate plates and cutting boards from raw turkey.
  • Thoroughly wash all items used to handle raw turkey before using them for other items.
  • Cook all food thoroughly at a safe temperature.
  • Use a meat thermometer on the innermost part of your turkey’s wing and thigh and the thickest area of its breast to ensure that it’s cooked fully to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Store leftovers at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower within two hours of cooking them.
  • Eat leftovers within four days of cooking them.

If you’re enjoying Thanksgiving dinner as a guest this year, you should:

  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially before touching food.
  • Point out or avoid eating any food that seems undercooked.
  • Keep unfinished food in your host’s refrigerator until you’re ready to return home.

If you experience symptoms of foodborne illness that aren’t going away, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 670-5486. If you experience severe symptoms such as bloody vomit or diarrhea, extreme stomach pain, or blurry vision, dial 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

Happy a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.