The Thanksgiving holiday is almost here. This is a joyous and wonderful time in assisted living and residential care communities; for both residents and staff. Help keep everyone well fed and happy by following these food safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Thawing Your Turkey in the Refrigerator
Place frozen bird in original wrapper in the refrigerator (40 °F or below). Allow approximately 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. A thawed turkeycan remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Thawing Your Turkey In Cold Water
If you forget to thaw the turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing, don’t panic. You can submerge the turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. The following times are suggested for thawing turkey in water. Cook immediately after thawing.
If you choose to stuff your turkey, stuff loosely. The stuffing should be moist, not dry, since heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment. Place stuffed turkey in oven immediately. You may also cook the stuffing outside the bird in a casserole.
Check the Internal Temperature
A whole turkey is safe cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the bird. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. All turkey meat is safe to eat as soon as all parts reach at least 165 °F. The stuffing should also reach 165 °F, whether cooked inside the bird or in a separate dish.
You can find more Thanksgiving food safety information, including a great one page handout to use as a staff training tool here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Countdown_to_Thanksgiving_Holiday.pdf
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone here at Care and Compliance Group!