Tuesday Tip: Happy Thanksgiving?

With your hectic schedule, it is sometimes easy to overlook simple compliance issues. Advanced Healthcare Studies’ “Tuesday Tips” will bring you a quick, helpful idea each week that can assist you in your operations related to regulatory compliance. We know that many of you implement outstanding practices in your community, and we welcome your ideas as well. If you have a tip that you would like to share, just reply by email and we may share your tip in a future “Tuesday Tip.”

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, we thought a few holiday safety tips would be appropriate for this week’s Tuesday Tip.  Here are some helpful suggestions from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a safe Thanksgiving meal:

When buying your turkey(s), check for the USDA or State mark of inspection which ensures that the turkey has been inspected for safety and wholesomeness.

Thawing Your Turkey

  • If you purchase a frozen turkey it is important to safely thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water or in a microwave oven.
  • Do not thaw a frozen turkey by leaving it out on the counter.

Handling Your Turkey
When handling and cooking a turkey, put “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill” into practice in order to help prevent foodborne illness:

  • Clean: Always wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash cutting boards, utensils, preparation surfaces and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and hot water.
  • Separate: Use different cutting boards for raw meat or poultry and other foods that will not be cooked such as vegetables. Be sure to keep the raw turkey separate from the other side dishes.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer. Every part of the turkey and the center of the stuffing should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • Chill: Keep the fridge at 40 °F or below to keep bacteria from growing. Perishable foods should not be left sitting out at room temperature longer than two hours. Discard food which has been left at room temperature longer than two hours.


  • For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended.
  • For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing.
  • The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.

Cooking Your Turkey

  • A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of at least 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
  • If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. Once again, the minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.

For more information visit www.usda.gov.

This tip was provided by Advanced Healthcare Studies — your source for operational and training products and services.


Josh Allen, RN

Advanced Healthcare Studies, LLC

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