Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

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.

DHEC in the News: Food waste, smoking cessation, rabies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Don’t Waste Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving don’t toss your leftovers. Food waste is the No. 1 item thrown away by Americans and DHEC leads an effort to cut down on food waste across South Carolina. If you’ve tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your Turkey Day leftovers, try feeding people instead of our landfills.

DHEC offering free resources to quit smoking

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control celebrated the Great American smokeout by reminding people of the resources it offers for those looking to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday in November to encourage tobacco users to quit.

Bat potentially exposes person to rabies in Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Health officials say a person may have been exposed to rabies in Spartanburg earlier this month.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said a bat was found between Converse Heights and Beaumont Village in downtown Spartanburg on Nov. 7.

Quenching Your Taste Buds: Healthier Thanksgiving Meal Options

By Adrianna Bradley

It’s that time of the year again when we gather with family and friends around dinner tables covered with a spread of foods to quench every taste bud possible. And while you’re sharing all the things you’re thankful for, we want you to also be thankful for the gift of good health this holiday.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for those who are trying to reach their feel great weight. With so many delicious foods tempting you, it’s hard to stick to your healthy habits. No need to worry. We have you covered with these healthy alternatives for your dinner table. Click here to view a few healthier, lighter, and nutritious meals.

Also, here are some tips on how you can make your Thanksgiving Day more active.

How to stay active this Thanksgiving:

  1. Walk after your meal: A brisk walk will help you burn some calories while also putting you in the right mind to turn down that second piece of the pie. Invite some family and friends to join you.
  2. Walk around and talk to people: Instead of obsessing over the food, walk around and catch up with family and friends. Take full advantage of the once-a-year sightings of some family members.
  3. Volunteer to help clean up: Instead of picking at leftovers or contemplating on getting seconds, offer to help clean up. Cleaning can help you burn some calories.
  4. Don’t overeat; stop when you’re full: Instead of seeing how much you can eat, serve yourself a small golf-ball size serving of everything you want. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when people overindulge themselves with food.

From Other Blogs: Flu vaccine, tips to help you quit smoking, environmental justice & more

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

Everyone can be a flu vaccine advocate!

With the holidays quickly approaching, there will be more opportunities to spend time with family and friends.  Now is the time to ensure that you and those around you are protected from flu. Now is the time to get your seasonal flu vaccine if you haven’t already gotten it. — From the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Preparing to quit: 10 tips to help you quit smoking

Each year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to quit during the Great American Smokeout. Most people who smoke want to quit, but they also know quitting is hard…it can take several attempts to succeed. Here are some tips to help you quit for good … — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

25 Years of Environmental Justice at the EPA

For a quarter of a century, the EPA has worked to address the environmental and public health concerns of minority, low-income and indigenous communities.  I have been blessed to be a part of this effort since its first steps. The Agency’s decision to establish the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), initially called the Office of Environmental Equity, stemmed from the recommendations of the EPA Environmental Equity Work Group, which was formed by Administrator Bill Reilly in 1990 to “review the evidence that racial minority and low-income communities bear a disproportionate risk burden.”  — From The EPA Blog

Have A Food-Safe Holiday Season

Last year, more than 46 million turkeys were carved and eaten at Thanksgiving. Turkey is typically accompanied by a host of side dishes and desserts, making the Thanksgiving meal by far one of the largest meals most people will cook this year. — From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog

Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving

By Sandra H. Spann, MS, RDN, LD, DHEC Office of Professional and Community Nutrition Services

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Thanksgiving is a time to express our thanks with friends and family, but it is also a time when many Americans over-indulge in a bounty of meats, casseroles and sweets. This holiday season, follow these simple tips to help you feel as light on your feet as you do in your heart with loved ones around you.

Start the day with a small but healthy breakfast to keep you energized and your metabolism moving. Trying to “save yourself” for a big meal at the end of the day can leave you feeling sluggish and extra hungry – leaving you more likely to overeat at Thanksgiving Dinner.

Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It’s a wonderful way for families to get some physical activity and enjoy the holiday together.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and with your meal. Drinking at least eight glasses of water throughout the day will keep your whole body hydrated and help your digestion.

Skip the salt! Use herbs and spices instead of salt to enjoy the flavor of your food. Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure.

Build a Healthy Plate

Fill ½ half of your plate with vegetables such as carrots and green beans, broccoli, salad and asparagus.

Fill ¼ of your plate with starches such as sweet potatoes and dressing. Other choices for this section may include corn, rice, or mashed potatoes.

Fill ¼ of your plate with lean turkey slices. Remove the skin from the turkey before eating.

Avoid casseroles or dishes that have heavy creams, sauces, butter or crusts. Skip the bread or rolls.

For more information, please visit the DHEC website.