It’s Turkey Time: Review How to Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal 11-24-2013

When preparing a turkey, be aware of the four main safety issues: thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking to the adequate temperature.

Safe Thawing: 

Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The “danger zone” is between 40 and 140°F — 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, if it is in the “danger zone.”
There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. For instructions, see “Safe Methods for ThawingExternal Web Site Icon;” instructions are also available in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon

Safe Preparation:

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.

Safe Stuffing: 

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. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow the FSIS’ steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffingExternal Web Site Icon; Spanish language instructionsExternal Web Site Icon are available.

Safe Cooking:

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. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit’s Safe Minimum Cooking TemperaturesExternal Web Site Icon.

Following these cooking guidelines can help you prepare
a safe holiday dinner that everyone will enjoy.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 

The Great American Smokeout – November 21, 2013

The Great American Smokeout, a day when those who are still smoking are encouraged to quit, is this Thursday, November 21. In Morris County only 14% of adults still choose to smoke. We are beginning to see an increase in smoking in middle and high schoolers. The cost for tobacco related illness in the United States is $96 billion.

The health benefits of quitting smoking start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation.

  • 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drop, 
  • 12 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal 
  • 2 weeks – 3 months your circulation improves and your lung function increases 
  • 1 – 9 months coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal funtion in the lungs 
  • 1 year after quitting the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s
If you or a loved one is smoking, this Thursday may be the first day for becoming a nonsmoker.

For resources on how to quit visit: or the American Cancer Society.