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4 tips to share the love – not bacteria – around the table on Thanksgiving

Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 6 Americans gets one or more foodborne illness annually? The University of Illinois Extension issued some quick tips to help you avoid becoming a statistic this Thanksgiving.

Wash hands frequently. Really.

Don’t just wash your hands before getting started in the kitchen — do it every time you switch between tasks, and every time you touch a tablet or smart phone to read that recipe. Make sure to wash with soap and water, scrubbing the hands and fingers for at least 20 seconds.

Cook and reheat foods to their safe internal temperatures

Forget what grandma said about what color a perfectly cooked turkey is: the best way to know what temperature your foods are is a food thermometer. And check out for instructions on safely thawing and cooking a turkey, ham, or whatever your dish of choice is. If you’re reheating food, 165°F is the temperature you need to ensure safety.

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers quick

Quick as in, within two hours of being cooked or removed from their heat source. So make sure to keep track of how long food sits as the table.

Be food-safe when traveling with hot or cold food

Keep cold foods as cold as possible with ice or ice packs and insulated coolers, then put them in a fridge when you arrive as your destination. Wrap containers of hot foods in foil or clean towels and keep in insulated coolers, then place it an oven or plug in your electric equipment once your reach your destination.

University of Illinois Extension

Written by University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering educational programs to residents of all of Illinois’ 102 counties – and far beyond.

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