In 2016, US turkey production reached an estimated 7.50 billion pounds of poultry. Now that’s a lot of protein!
As holiday preparations begin in American homes, selecting the right bird is an important first step.
Keeping in line with today’s health conscious minds, buying organic is the way to go. If you’re wanting a big bird free form growth hormones and handled properly, be sure to check the label.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates and enforces strict labeling laws for local farmers. If you’re choice does not carry the USDA certified organic label on it, then it’s probably not organic.
With all the work that goes into creating a holiday meal for loved ones, you may want to start with a safe kitchen! The USDA places much emphasis on food safety for good reason. Food borne illness occurs quite frequently, but can be easily prevented.
Unsafe kitchen practices often lead to growth of harmful bacteria that can be more severe among small children and older adults.
To ensure your holiday meal is a hit at the dinner table, consider applying some simple to follow food safety measures.
For satisfied tummy’s, be sure to cook all meats to the right temperature. It can be tricky when trying to estimate if a Turkey is fully cooked and safe to eat. Judging by sight, smell, or length of cooking time is not encouraged, as the size of the bird and the type of oven used, can impact cooking time.
For safety, poultry (and other meats) should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts suggest using a food thermometer placed into the thickest part of the bird such as the breast or thigh to ensure that it is cooked properly before serving.
To help safeguard your kitchen during meal preparation and other kitchen duties, consider some safety measures provided by the Fight BAC campaign and other food safety programs.
Following are 4 basic steps used in commercial kitchens and recommended for your own kitchen:
Keep food preparation areas clean.
1. Separate raw foods from fresh foods. This can be achieved by using a separate cutting board for meats and fresh produce.
2. Cook all foods to recommended temperatures.
3. Be sure to chill or refrigerate leftovers within two hours or less.
By following these kitchen safety measures, you can be confident that your holiday meal will be safe to eat! Further steps that support food safety methods can be found at www.BAC.org.
As always, eat well and stay healthy!