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Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) officials encourage consumers to take appropriate precautions in handling, preparing and cooking foods during the upcoming holiday season.
To ensure that the holiday foods are safe, follow these basic safety steps to avoid foodborne illness:
Safely thaw turkey: To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, thawing the turkey completely in a refrigerator before cooking is important. If a turkey is not properly thawed, the bird will cook unevenly, and the inside will not be hot enough to destroy disease-causing bacteria.
Allow the correct amount of time to properly thaw and cook a whole turkey. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs two to three days to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Do not thaw a turkey by leaving it out on the counter or in the sink.
To check a turkey for doneness, insert a food thermometer into the inner thigh area near the breast of the turkey. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 165 degrees. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should also be 165 degrees.
For information about food safety and additional cooking temperatures, visit http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092815.htm or call the Coconino County Health and Human Services Environmental Health program at 928-679-8750 or toll-free 877-679-7272.