How to keep your guests safe from food poisoning this Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 2:10 PM CST
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Before you put the turkey and sides on the dining room table for your guests, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind before you gobble up that holiday feast!

The Laredo Health Department has several do’s and don’ts local chefs need to heed before and after they serve Thanksgiving Dinner.

Preventing food borne illnesses is as simple as thoroughly washing your hands, keeping food stored properly and making sure that food is cooked at the right temperature.

When cooking turkey, it’s recommended to cook it at least 165 degrees or above for hot food it’s suggested to maintain the temperature at 140 degrees or above.

The best way to monitor the temperature is by using a cooking thermometer.

Juan Carmona with the health department says some of the most common illnesses reported on Thanksgiving are salmonella poisoning.

Carmona says, “Well the vomiting and the diarrhea are the worst ones to tell you the truth, but there’s always the headaches and the muscle aches, and you just don’t want to be sick during the holidays or you never want to be sick, if you can avoid it, avoid it and it’s simple as leaving the food at the proper temperatures and washing your hands properly.

Carmona says that if you suspect multiple family members are sick due to food poisoning to contact your local physician.

For more on cooking safety tips, you can view the text below:

Cooking Safety Tips:

· Always wash your hands before; during and after food preparation (bacteria from raw meats can be transferred to other food items).

· Ensure that your freezer (0.0 degrees Fahrenheit) and your refrigerator (40.0 degrees Fahrenheit or below) temperatures are properly set, two days before you cook the turkey, take it out of the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator.

· Ensure that you put a pan underneath your turkey to catch any dripping liquids.

· Once the turkey is thawed, you may prepare and season your turkey the night before or early in the morning, but place it back in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.

· Clean and disinfect all cutting boards, knives and utensils with soap and hot water before preparing any food items.

· Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately ten minutes, place turkey in the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

· Use a thermometer to ensure thorough cooking of the entire turkey at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

· If you cooked stuffing inside the turkey let it stand for 20 minutes before removing the stuffing from the cavity before you start carving the turkey (it is recommended to cook stuffing separately).

· All leftovers should be covered and stored in shallow containers inside the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below within two hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning and used within three days. Freezing leftovers is best for safe food keeping.

· Use the stove or microwave oven to reheat all leftovers to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil and let them simmer before serving.

· All cakes with raw eggs or milk products (pan de flan, cheese cake or tres leches) must be kept at the proper temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below and properly covered and must not be left outside at room temperature.

· Always wash your hands and then wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

· Do not taste or let children taste the raw cookie dough.

· Only purchase food items from an approved food vendor.

· Don’t taste food that looks or smell questionable. When in doubt, throw it out.


· Keep live trees away from fire sources (heaters, chimney) keep them well watered, check for greenness.

· Chose a tree that says fire resistant.

· Only use nonflammable, plastic or artificial tree decorations.

· Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child from swallowing or inhaling small pieces and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food, which may tempt a child to eat them.

· Indoor or outdoor, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory that indicates conformance with safety standards on its use (never use inside use only light sets for outside).

· Check each set of lights, new and old for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections and throw out damaged sets.

· Do not use more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord.

· Always follow the instructions for decorations, lighting sets, spays etc.

· Never use a barbeque pit inside the house for warmth.

· Do not drink alcohol or text and drive.

· Always use your seatbelts and appropriate car seats for children.

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