Food safety tips to avoid getting sick this Thanksgiving

(brownpau/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)
(brownpau/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – With Thanksgiving just days away, many of you are getting ready to spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing your feast. But if you don’t follow proper food safety guidelines, you could be putting your family’s health at risk.

The last thing you want to have to worry about on Thanksgiving is getting sick from your food, but it happens all too often. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening simply by following guidelines.

Be sure to thaw your turkey at the right temperature. Bacteria grows quickly between 40 and 140 degrees.

Thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling food. Bacteria from raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches.

Cook the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Don’t let leftovers sit out any longer than 2 hours before putting them away.

Pitt Community College health and nutrition professor Kerri Augustino says these are simple steps that we can’t overlook.

“We use our safety belts every day, we put helmets on our head to protect us when we’re riding our bikes in sports, so it just makes sense to take the proper precautions so we don’t turn Thanksgiving dinner into a hospital visit,” Augustino said.

If you don’t follow these steps, that’s where you could end up. Every year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from a food-borne illness. According to the CDC, these numbers rise around Thanksgiving.

For more specifics on safely preparing your feast, visit the CDC website.