Thanksgiving is only a week away! Whether this is you first time cooking or are a veteran at the traditional meal. There are some serious risks of consuming undercooked turkey, mainly food poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria.
The most common bacteria people tend to associate with undercooked poultry is Salmonella. However, poultry may also carry campylobacter, E. coli and other bacteria.
Each year in the United States, roughly 1.2 million people are sickened by the Salmonella bacteria while an estimated 23,000 are hospitalized, according to CDC.
This can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps, among other side effects — is usually caused by eating or drinking foods contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. Roughly 1 million cases of Salmonella infections each year are caused by food, according to the CDC.
A turkey is ready to eat when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, Champion said, adding a thermometer “should be placed in 3 places: in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast.”
Despite popular belief, a turkey is not necessarily ready to come out of the oven if its juices are running clear, Ben Chapman, food safety specialist and assistant professor of food science at North Carolina State University.
Thanksgiving meat that is properly cooked is safe to eat up to approximately three to four days.
“Keep in mind your leftovers should be stored properly. That means move leftover turkey to the refrigerator within two hours after eating. Otherwise, your leftovers are not safe to consume,” Champion said, reminding turkey lovers they should freeze anything that isn’t eaten within that time period.
“I encourage people to freeze the amount they will use in one meal for easy thawing later,” she added.
To prevent the growth of bacteria, the Food Safety and Inspection Service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says meat should be placed in a fridge no more than two hours after it’s cooked.
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