WELCOMETO YOUR INFORMATION SOURCE FOR EVERYDAY LIVING!
Food / Leisure
It's Turkey Time
Print this page
Oct 07, 2011
The "danger zone" is between 40 and 140 F (4 - 60°C) - the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again.
Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to other foods. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you place stuffing inside the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F (74°C), possibly resulting in foodborne illness.
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Check the internal temperature at the center of the stuffing and meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) [Health Canada recommends to cook turkey until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh is at least 85ºC (185ºF)]. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.
Following these cooking guidelines can help you prepare a safe holiday dinner that everyone will enjoy.