By Sam Shapiro
NEW YORK, NY (WENY) – With families having Thanksgiving dinner today, there are a few things to keep in mind in the kitchen regarding preparing food properly.
Tioga County Public Health Educator Katie Wait says it’s important to keep raw foods away from each other and from contaminating other foods.
“What we’re looking at is keeping raw meats separated from other foods, especially because there’s going to be a lot going on in the kitchen,” Wait said, adding, “There’s going to be a lot of different sides; (make) sure there’s no contamination between the meats and any raw foods.”
Health Officials also recommend using a food thermometer to ensure food is cooked thoroughly before serving. Once everything is ready to go, people should make sure it’s not sitting out too long, which can create an environment for bacteria to grow.
“Once the food is prepared, if it’s hot food, keep it hot; cause that’s where the danger zone for the bacteria can grow.” Wait said.
While some families like to cook a traditional turkey in the oven, another popular method is to fry it. Town & County Fire Department’s Dirk Wheeler says safety is of the utmost importance when frying a turkey.
“You want to do it outside; you want to make sure you’re not on a wooden deck and make sure you’re using the proper level of oil,” Wheeler said, adding, “Take the fryer outside right before you cook; don’t leave it outside overnight and then try it. You also need to make sure your turkey is completely thawed; there can’t be any ice or water left in the turkey.”
Several other tips regarding food safety, home fires, winter weather, safe shopping during the holidays, and other holiday safety can be found online.