Monthly Archives: November 2018

Handle Your Turkey, Leftovers Safely This Thanksgiving

As you gather with family and friends to break bread this Thanksgiving Day, DHEC wants to make sure you avoid any food-handling issues that could result in illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food-handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks.

Here are some tips to consider before, during and after you fry your turkey.

Don’t buy the bird too early

If you bought your turkey fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (40° F or less) and cook it within one to two days. If you bought your turkey frozen, to thaw it safely in the refrigerator, allow for a thaw rate of 4-5 pounds per day. For example, for a 12-pound bird it will take 2.5 to 3 days in the refrigerator to thaw. It should then be cooked within one to two days.

You can thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40° F and 140° F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

Safely Cook Your Turkey

Set the oven temperature to at least 325° F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165° F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Turkey Frying  

When working with large amounts of hot oil, select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1 to 2 inches. Select a safe location outdoors for deep frying a turkey. Heat the cooking oil to 350° F. Very slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer during cooking. Never leave the hot oil unattended.

Allow approximately 3 to 5 minutes of cook time per pound. When reaching approximate time needed, check to see if the turkey is safely cooked by removing the turkey from the oil, draining the oil from the cavity and with a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of bird. DO NOT test the temperature while the turkey is submerged in oil.

Monitor Your Leftovers

After dinner, remember to follow the two-hour rule. For safety, do not leave the turkey or other perishable foods sitting out at room temperature longer than two hours. Refrigerate your leftovers at 40° F or colder as soon as possible to prevent food poisoning.

If you have any questions about keeping your leftovers safe, you can check out the USDA’s FoodKeeper app. It’s available on Android and Apple devices. The app provides storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, for more than 500 products.

Great American Smokeout: Commit To A Healthy, Smoke-free Life

Catherine Warner
Outreach Coordinator
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

Public health advocates will observe the 43rd annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, Nov. 15. GASO is an opportunity for everyone to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day — but year-round.

Quitting is difficult. It takes commitment and a plan; and it often takes more than one try.  This is why GASO shouldn’t necessarily be considered the day to quit smoking for good, but rather the day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life. Support from friends and family is helpful, as is getting advice from your healthcare provider.

Free support is also available from the certified quit coaches at the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Personalized for each registered caller, the tips and support offered through the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) can help smokers succeed when they are ready to quit. Most callers are eligible to receive free over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, patch, or lozenge — regardless of insurance coverage.

GASO gives us all a great opportunity to promote tobacco-free lifestyles to co-workers, clients, friends, and family. It’s important to our work at DHEC because tobacco prevention touches on nearly every public health program area. From flu prevention to family planning, diabetes to heart disease and stroke, tobacco users are more likely to experience negative health consequences impacting nearly every organ in the body.  Lower rates of tobacco use can decrease incidence of respiratory infections, infertility, pre-term births and low birth weight babies, Type II diabetes, periodontal disease, many cancers, heart attacks, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and tobacco-related health disparities.

If you would like to encourage smokers to participate in GASO, materials from the American Cancer Society are also available on their website. Free posters, brochures, and other print items are also available through the DHEC Educational Materials Library. You can also call 898-2287 to place an order over the phone.  Getting the word out about GASO is not only a solid investment in public health, it could truly save the life of someone you love. Support, encourage, and promote smoke-free lives.  And if you smoke, call the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for free help. Para recibir ayuda de la línea estatal para dejar de fumar: 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

From Other Blogs: Reducing preterm births, debunking flu vaccine myths, breast cancer & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Mission Possible: Reducing Disparities in Preterm Births in the United States

In 2001, a woman was transported to a Georgia hospital in preterm labor. She delivered a baby boy at 34 weeks gestation, six weeks before her due date. However, before this baby’s early birth, she was given medications to help her baby’s lungs mature more rapidly, and to slow down the labor. After her baby boy was delivered, his breathing was normal and he went home with his parents five days later. His name is Joseph, and he is my first son, born to my husband, Joe, and me.

Modern medical technology contributed to my successful preterm delivery outcome, but despite a wealth of medical resources, the United States has relatively high rates of preterm birth. Recently we’ve been losing ground in the fight to reduce preterm births, particularly among infants that are born late preterm (between 34-36 weeks gestation). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conversations in Equity blog

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myths

Now is the right time to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sporadic flu activity is already being reported in 42 states across the nation, including South Carolina. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But a lot of people choose not to get it, saying it will give them flu symptoms or that it’s not worth it because doesn’t always work against all strains of the flu. In this WLTX news report, Dr. Joshua Prince of Lexington Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, debunks these flu vaccine myths. — From the Lexington Medical Center blog

What you need to know about breast cancer

Did you know breast cancer affects 1 in every 8 women? This statistic might sound scary, but it probably does not come as a surprise. You can probably think of at least one person in your life who has been affected by breast cancer. The good news is the survival rate for people with breast cancer has been steadily rising since the 1990s. Julian Kim, MD, senior medical director of Oncology Services with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, shares information about breast cancer screenings and advancements in breast cancer treatment. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Workers Using Prescription Opioids and/or Benzodiazepines Can Face Safety and Health Risks

The opioid crisis that faces the nation has a great impact on workers and NIOSH has a comprehensive program to address opioids in workers. One issue of concern is workers who use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for medically appropriate reasons.

Workers who use either prescription opioids or benzodiazepines or a combination of prescriptions for both of these drugs, for medical reasons, can face safety and health risks in U.S. workplaces, which employ 160 million people across all occupations [1].

Opioids treat moderate-to-severe pain, and benzodiazepine medications (sometimes called “benzos”, including diazepam and alprazolam) are sedatives often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions [2]. In particular, patients with combined prescription use of both drugs may be more likely to become addicted or to die from an overdose [3]. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog