Keeping your Thanksgiving Food Safe

Films and T.V. shows portraying Thanksgiving Day festivities often include nervous and overwhelmed Americans struggling to impress friends and family with extravagant dinners. Unfortunately, the reality of Thanksgiving Day kitchen mishaps often involves food poisoning, contamination, and even trips to the ER. Inexperienced cooks or over-stressed hosts may unintentionally poison their guests, either with food not properly handled or serving products that were recently recalled. Personal injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wish to point out a few tricks and tips to get you through this holiday season unscathed.

When first purchasing your Thanksgiving turkey, wait to put it in your cart. Experts at the Institute of Food Technologies state that if you peruse the grocery store for too long with the frozen turkey in your cart, it may begin to thaw, and bacteria can start growing at rapid rates. To ensure the cleanliness of your bird, pick it up right before you check out and put it in the freezer immediately when you get home. The ideal time to thaw the turkey is one to two days before the meal, on a tray in the refrigerator to catch any juices that may contaminate other foods. If there is not enough time for a 24-48 hour defrost, submerge the meat in its original wrapper in a large container of water, and change it out every half hour. Never wash the raw meat, which could spread bacteria. . As with any food preparation, ensure that your hands, utensils and work space are clean before handling.

Turkey meat is safely cooked in an oven heated to 325 degrees F or higher, and when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, such as the breast. Though stuffing is traditionally cooked inside the turkey, it is safer to bake them separately. Cooked meat should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours, which applies to products with dairy in them as well. Designate separate cutting board and preparation space beforehand; one for produce, one for meat, and a third for various other foods, to avoid cross-contamination.

Always remember to wash produce properly and dispose of all peels and double-check with guests about any allergens. If there are any, make note of which dishes contain that food and use separate utensils and cooking dishes to avoid cross-contamination. Keep in mind the recent food recalls that may rose allergy risks, such as Whole Foods Market recall of its Wedding and Almondine Wedding Cookies that contained undeclared pecans and almonds.

If you enjoy a scoop ice cream on your pie, steer clear of Boulder Ice Cream, which was recalled by Sunland, Inc., due to potential Salmonella contamination. The Boulder Peanut Butter Cup (including ‘Elvis’ pints) and Sorano Gelato Chocolate Peanut Butter pints were also recently recalled In addition to Sunland, Magnolia Bird Farm recalled its raw and roasted peanuts because of potential Salmonella poisoning.

Consumers are also urged to immediately stop using Cocoa Latte Hote Drink Mixer due to possible lead risk and Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters due to nut allergens. For a full list of recent food recalls visit the federal food safety website.

If the proper safety precautions are taken, there should be no worries of food contamination at your holiday festivities. If you suffer any serious allergen contamination from recalled foods, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to receive due compensation. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wishes everyone a healthy, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving weekend.