GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Those who are tasked with making Thanksgiving dinner have a lot to remember from thawing the turkey in advance to whipping up several side dishes.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is food safety and cleanliness.
According to the Center for Disease Control, every year 1 in 6 Americans is infected with foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, E. coli, norovirus or food poisoning.
Vidant clinical dietitian Heather Reburn has some tips to keep your food safe this holiday season.
She says the number one thing to look out for is handling raw poultry in the correct way.
Thaw your turkey safely, handle with care, clean surfaces before using them again, and cook your turkey thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Here are more turkey safety tips from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Additionally, if you’re planning on cooking any other food inside your turkey, such as stuffing, wait until right before the turkey goes in the oven to place the stuffing inside. Do not let it sit inside for more than a few minutes as bacteria can spread during that time.
After dinner, put your leftovers away immediately.
Cooked food should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. The two-hour mark is what the USDA calls the “danger zone.” If the air temperature is 90 degrees or higher, cooked food should not be left out for more than one hour.
Consuming raw poultry can increase your risk of foodborne illnesses. Here are some things to look out for, according to Reburn.
Another tip for food safety is ensuring all your fruits and vegetables are thoroughly washed.
“Make sure you get all the dirt off from the fields,” said Reburn. “A lot of the vegetables come right off the field and go right to the grocery store they’re not washed before you get them home.”
Reburn also gave 9 On Your Side some tips on how to stay healthy during the holiday season.
One thing she recommends, especially on Thanksgiving, is to still eat throughout the day because this can deter overeating during the big meal.
One last tip from Reburn is to stay active over the holidays as it can help with energy levels and digestion.
“Maybe start a new tradition with your family and play football outside or going for a walk after your meal just to help with your activity,” said Reburn.
If you have any questions on seasonal food safety, visit the USDA’s seasonal food safety guide by clicking here.