Tag Archives: food safety

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.

From Other Blogs: Men’s health, carbon monoxide poisoning, the truth about juice & more

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

Tips for men to protect their health

Men, you and your health go hand in hand. As a reminder to make sure you are living a healthy life, here are tips to help you protect your health and well-being.

Cecelia M. Baskett, MD, family medicine physician at Lakeview Family Medicine, said, “Unfortunately, I see men who have neglected their health and now have advanced stage of disease because they did not come in to be screened. It is beneficial to everyone’s health to see a family medicine or internist every few years at a minimum. Many times we can help you prevent long-term negative effects on your lifestyle if you come in.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

When power outages occur after severe weather, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Squeezing the truth out of juice

Juice. We all have our favorite, whether it’s grape, apple, orange, pineapple, tropical punch. . .the list goes on and on. Everywhere we go, we’re reminded of its evil sweetness. Just walk into any grocery store and you will find an entire side of an aisle devoted to juices of infinite variety, all of it boxed, bottled and canned in the most colorful, eye-popping and kid-appealing ways.

Thanks to industry marketing tactics, many people continue to think juice is actually a healthy drink option for their kids. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline Keeps You “Food Safe” in the Summer!

Whether it’s a family BBQ, camping, hiking or going to the beach, summer activities can get hot! When food is a part of those activities, keep in mind the old saying: Safety first!

USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline is here to help you with food safety for all your summer plans. It has been assisting Americans with all types of food safety questions and concerns since 1985. Here are just a few… — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 Common Flood Insurance Myths

The National Flood Insurance Program has worked to protect the life you’ve built for the past 50 years and will continue to do so into the future.  Don’t let rumors and myths drive your decisions.

Here are the five most common myths about flood insurance. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

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

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

From Other Blogs: Healthy holiday eating tips, noise-induced hearing loss, lead hazards in holiday toys/jewelry and more

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

Five tips for healthy eating during the holidays

Holidays are a time for gathering with family and friends, enjoying each other’s company and food, lots of food! For most people who are trying to eat healthy, the holidays can be a challenge. Kristen Ziesmer, Palmetto Health’s Apex Athletic Performance sports dietitian, shares five tips to help you navigate healthy eating during the holidays. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

CDC’s Research on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

For nearly 50 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has researched noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace, providing guidelines to help reduce risk. In 2015, CDC received inquiries from both the public and medical community about noise-induced hearing loss in non-workplace settings.

In 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released “Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability.” This report included a request that government agencies strengthen publicly available, evidence-based information on hearing loss and hearing health care. In response, CDC not only started research efforts but also raised awareness about the fact that excessive exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage, and that taking simple steps can prevent noise-induced hearing loss. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Lead Hazards in Some Holiday Toys and Toy Jewelry

Many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season but some toys may contain lead hazards. Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell.

Children may be exposed to lead by simply handling toys normally. It is normal for toddlers and infants to put toys, fingers and other objects in their mouths. They may also be exposed to lead this way. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

Time Management: The Key to a Food Safe Holiday

The holiday season is a prized time; it’s that festive season that seems to be here before you know it, and you wonder how you will find the time to do everything you need to do to celebrate properly with family and friends. The holidays are also when we share favorite, treasured foods with our loved ones. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Safe Food Handling for Thanksgiving

By Adrianna Bradley

While Thanksgiving Day is full of family get-togethers, giving thanks, and lots of food, we want to make sure you avoid any food-handling issues that could potentially result in your family and friends becoming ill.

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 in our country.

There are several things to remember before, during and after you fry your turkey this holiday.

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.