How to stay safe in the kitchen for Thanksgiving

Many have already started preparations to get their turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving. When it comes to preparing a big meal, there’s always a chance someone can get sick if proper sanitary measures aren’t taken.

Here are some helpful tips to stay safe in the kitchen this Thanksgiving.

Preparing the turkey

  • Do not wash the turkey. Washing raw meat and poultry can cause bacteria to spread up to three feet away.
  • If you’re thawing your bird in the microwave, plan to cook it immediately after.
  • Whole turkeys should only be thawed in the refrigerator or by submerging in cold water.
  • Cook all turkey products to 165 degrees. If you’re preparing a whole turkey, the temperature should reach 180 degrees in the thigh, 170 degrees in the breast and 165 degrees in center of the stuffing.

Avoid cross contamination

  • Keep countertops clean.
  • If raw meat touches any surfaces, cutting boards or utensils, clean them with hot water and soap.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap or sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.


  • Store leftovers within two hours of cooling.
  • Eat or freeze all leftovers within three days.
  • If you’re storing leftovers from a whole turkey, carve it before storing.