Thanksgiving Food Safety Rules
by acac Nutritionist Margaret Moses, MBA, LDN
DO pack cold dishes in an ice-filled cooler. If you’re precooking something that should be served hot, prepare it the day before and then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, carry it in an ice-filled cooler and reheat before serving.
DON’T plan to travel with a cooked turkey unless you’re not going very far. Before heading out, cover the bird tightly with foil. Upon arrival, reheat in a 325 oven until both the turkey and stuffing reach a temperature of 165 F.
DO stuff the turkey just before roasting it; the bacteria that causes food poisoning grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F.
DON’T overpack the stuffing; otherwise, it won’t reach 165 F by the time the turkey is done.
DO keep the second and third servings of food hot in a 200 F to 250 F oven or cold in the fridge if you’re having a buffet.
DON’T add additional food to dishes already on the table; put it out on clean platters instead.
DO refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. Dismantle the turkey into smaller pieces and store separately from the stuffing and gravy. Divide leftovers into small, flat containers so the food cools more evenly and quickly in the fridge or freezer.
DON’T eat refrigerated gravy after 2 days; other refrigerated leftovers will keep for up to 4 days. Leftovers should be reheated to 165 F except for soups, sauces, and gravies which should be brought to a full boil.