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How to make sure Salmonella doesn't fowl up Thanksgiving

Last Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 6:15 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

26 cases of Salmonella poisoning have been recorded by the BC Centre for Disease Control since 2017

The Centre has released tips to help eliminate harmful bacteria while preparing and cooking turkey

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Make sure to properly prepare your turkey if you don’t want to send your guests away in a fowl mood this Thanksgiving.

Food safety specialist Lorraine McIntyre says at least 26 cases of Salmonella poisoning have been recorded by the BC Centre for Disease Control since 2017–all linked to improperly cooked poultry.

“Not properly cooking poultry increases the risk of illness for those who handle or eat it,” says the BCCDC. “Salmonellosis is serious and it can ruin any Thanksgiving dinner, so remember to fully cook your turkey dinner and use a meat thermometer to ensure it is safe to eat.”

Children under four are most at risk if your turkey’s not prepared properly, but anyone who eats it can suffer symptoms which can last up to four days and include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.

The BCCDC offers the following tips for making sure your Thanksgiving memories don’t include food poisoning:

  • Wash your hands and cooking surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food. It is especially important to wash down surfaces after preparing raw meat.
  • Keep raw meat separated from other foods and stored in the bottom of your refrigerator until it’s time to use. Ensure raw turkey and chicken juices don’t drip down onto other foods.
  • Thaw frozen poultry products in the fridge or in cold water prior to cooking.
  • Never rinse raw poultry before cooking because it can spread bacteria wherever the water splashes.
  • If you decide to brine your turkey ensure the brine is cold before immersing your turkey and keep the brine and the turkey in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook.
  • Always cook turkey and chicken products to a safe internal temperature of 74 Celsius or hotter to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • To check, insert the probe tip thermometer into the meatiest part of the bird, either a couple of inches into the breast or the inner thigh, near the breast.
  • Cook stuffing separately in a casserole dish or if you decide to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, stuff the bird just before cooking and use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s centre also reaches 74 Celsius or hotter.
  • After the meal is over, put leftovers into the refrigerator within two hours. Foods should not be left out longer than four hours, otherwise spore forming bacteria may regrow and release toxins into the food.
  • Eat leftovers within two to three days or freeze them for later use