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Safety tips for holiday meal preparations

Nov 18, 2022

Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. Unsafe handling and under-cooking your holiday meal can cause foodborne illnesses. Here to discuss a few safety tips in preparing your holiday meal is Ericka Shipley, Manager of Infection Prevention at United Hospital Center.

1). What is appropriate when it comes to preparing your holiday feast and keeping everything clean?

You want to always start by making sure you wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before meal preparation. As you work in your kitchen, make sure to wash your hands as you touch surfaces.

Your utensils, plates, countertops, and cutting boards, should be washed. Make sure to wipe appliance handles down, too.

The one item that you never wash is the turkey, chicken, or other fowl, as you can spread bacteria all over your kitchen if you do. These bacteria can be present inside and outside a bird and cannot be washed off, but rather cooking will destroy any bacteria.

2). During my holiday meal preparation, how important is it to check the bird?

You CANNOT tell if your turkey is done by color alone. It is critical to continually check the temperature of your turkey, as it is not safe until it reaches 165° F. You also need to remember to ensure any stuffing cooked with your turkey reaches the same temperature.

There are three places on your turkey where you will want to check the temperature:
  • Thickest part of the breast
  • Innermost part of the wing
  • Innermost part of the thigh

Once you remove your turkey from the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle.

3). What should I do if I have a question during my holiday meal preparation?

I always suggest that if you have specific questions during your meal preparation, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit Both are great resources when you need assistance during meal preparation. From all of us at United Hospital Center, we want to keep you safe, especially as you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday meal with your friends and family. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

This content was originally posted on the WDTV News website here.

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