Health officials want to remind everyone about proper turkey defrosting practices

The South Central Public Health District is reminding people how to properly defrost your Thanksgiving turkey
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 1:22 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The South Central Public Health District wants to remind everyone about proper food safety practices to avoid foodborne illness this holiday season.

Brianna Bodily with the health district said properly thawing your turkey is one of the first things to think about ahead of Thanksgiving.

She said the best way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, and the weight of the turkey will determine how long it will take to completely thaw. A ten-pound turkey will take about two days and a twenty-pound turkey can take up to five days so start planning now.

Bodily added the method of defrosting a turkey in water in the sink can lead to food poisoning.

“The problem with that method is that it spreads a lot of bacteria in your sink and then you’re going to be using that sink for washing your hands, your dishes, all your other produce,” said Bodily. “So, while it is an option that has worked for a long time it does increase of food borne illness, especially nasty things like salmonella.”

Bodily said when cooking your Thanksgiving turkey to always use a food thermometer and it needs to be put into the thickest part of the breast and cooked to 165 degrees to ensure all bacteria is killed.

She said when it comes to leftovers use the rule of four. All food should be refrigerated four hours after eating and any leftovers not eaten within four days should be thrown out or put in the freezer.

Bodily said if anyone has questions about how long it will take to defrost a turkey or other ways to prevent food-borne illness to contact the health district.