Barry Ellsworth of the Belleville Intelligencer interviewed Rebecca Mathers of the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, who offered some tips to keep bacteria at bay:
Thaw the turkey overnight in the refrigerator so it will remain cold, not on the counter top or in water in the sink where it will be susceptible to bacteria at room temperature.
Cook stuffing (to an internal temperature of 74 C or 165 F) separately from turkey. Mathers said that is the recommended way of preparing the bird and stuffing, but if you buy a turkey already stuffed, be sure to cook it from frozen and “definitely be using a food thermometer.”
Never leave hazardous foods such as meats in the danger zone (4 C to 74 C or 40 F to 140 F) for more than two hours.
Clean and sanitize all work surfaces before and after food preparation to eliminate the chance of cross contamination from one food to another.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly after eating and reheat to at least 74 C before serving.
Always wash your hands thoroughly using warm water and soap before handling any food including raw meats.
Mathers said the contamination in bean sprouts that occurred in the province — 16 cases of poisoning were reported in this area — in November and December should serve as a warning.
“With the recent salmonella outbreak linked to bean sprouts, we are reminded again how important food safety is and how it is often taken for granted,” Mathers said.