Turkey Food Safety Tips

As the holidays approach, the Winnebago County Health Department would like to offer a few tips on food safety to prevent food borne illness.

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after handling raw animal products.
  • Turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator prior to cooking.
  • Allow one (1) day for every four (4) pounds of turkey for proper thawing.
  • Cook turkey in an oven set no lower than 325° F.
  • Check temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and thickest part of the breast.
  • The turkey (and center of stuffing if stuffed) should reach an internal temperature of 165° F.
  • Properly cool all leftovers.
  • Place food in shallow dishes in the fridge or freezer uncovered.
  • Cover dishes after the food has cooled completely.

A very useful fact sheet about cooking turkeys safely can be found on the USDA website.


Any further questions regarding your holiday turkey can be directed to the USDA at their Meat and Poultry hotline:  1-888-674-6854.  The hotline is available Monday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm.  You can also visit the Ask Karen portion of the USDA website for automated responses 24 hours a day or live chat during hotline hours.

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