In addition to the proper care and handling of the product at the farm and processing facility, food safety needs to be emphasized in the home, as well as any location where food is prepared.  Here are the proper methods for safe handling:

1.  Wash hands with soap and water vigorously for about 20 seconds prior to and after handling raw poultry.

2.  Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen:

  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and poultry and for fruits, vegetables and any other food that does not require cooking
  • Thoroughly clean all cutting boards, countertops and and utensils with soap and hot water before and after preparing raw meats
  • Keep poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods
  • Do not rinse raw turkey in the sink prior to cooking.  This only increases the chances of spreading the raw juices around your kitchen.  Remember, cooking to 165 degrees F is the ONLY way to kill bacteria.

3.  Refrigerate promptly and properly.  Freeze raw turkey that will not be cooked before the 'use by date' on the packaging, or within two days of purchase.  Thaw turkey in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.

4.  Cook turkey and all meats immediately after thawing .  Slice cooked turkey off the bone (you can leave the leg and thigh intact) cover and refrigerate promptly.

5.  Use a meat thermometer to verify that the turkey has reached the safest internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Temperature should be checked in at least three places, the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast.  If you stuffed your turkey, the innermost part of the stuffing should also reach 165 degrees F.

When cooking turkey burgers, use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into several parts of the patty - including the thickest part.  The temperature of 165 degrees F kills food borne germs.

Turkey is never eaten raw or rare.

Never place cooked burgers or ground poultry on an unwashed plate that was used for raw patties. 

Wash food thermometers in between tests of patties that require further cooking to reach proper temp.

Leftover foods or ready-to-eat foods (hot dogs and sausages) should be cooked until steaming hot.


For more ways you can ensure safe food handling, please visit the following resources:
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