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Tips for having a sanitary Thanksgiving

(Photo Courtesy/CBS) When checking a turkey to see if it's cooked, check the innermost part of the wing, thigh, and thickest part of the breasts for a temperature of 165 degrees.

Alpena — District Health Department #4 has some tips for cooking and cleaning on Thanksgiving Day.

With so many moving parts, it can be hard to keep track of what’s clean or what has been sitting out for a long time. Kevin Prevost has been working with the health department for over 25 years. He provided some insight into some of the important tips on the most delicious day of the year.

Properly thawing a turkey sits at the top of that list which means keeping it refrigerated and not on the counter top.

“I worked in food service when I was youngsters, and I saw it happen in food service at that time all those years ago,” said Prevost. “But it’s a bad idea because then that process encourages the growth of bacteria while it’s thawing over at that time period.”

Food poisoning is a serious public health threat, so the health department wants to make sure all steps are taken to diminish the possibility.

20 seconds of hand washing with soap usually does the trick. Do not rinse or wash your turkey. Cooking the bird generally removes all bacteria if cooked to the proper temperature. Use a thermometer to gauge proper cooking. Take measurements from the thigh, innermost part of the breast, and innermost part of the wing. All three parts should reach 165 degrees.

Stuffing should also reach 165 degrees. Under cooking stuffing is a common cause of food poisoning. Use the two-hour rule in terms of perishable food items that are left out.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.