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Food safety a concern in preparing Thanksgiving dinner

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Thanksgiving dinner is one of the biggest meals people cook each year. With it come challenges in preparing the food. One in six people fall ill to food poisoning annually in the United States. USDA technical information specialist Marianne Gravely says it’s important to approach Thanksgiving dinner with a plan.

“It’s a meal that people who don’t normally cook prepare and it’s a food item, a turkey that people rarely cook. Most people only cook a turkey once or twice a year. Its big it’s more challenging than other things,” Gravely told WBFO

Gravely suggests setting the oven for 325 degrees until the turkey reaches a temperature of 165 degrees. She says you should check the breasts, wings and thighs with a food thermometer to make sure your family and friends enjoy a safely-cooked meal.

Gravely says it’s okay if your turkey is still frozen on Thanksgiving morning.

“If that’s the case, it will just take a little longer to cook and if it’s so frozen that you can’t get the giblets out then let it cook for an hour or so ten use your tongs to get pull the giblets and the neck out. There’s no reason to worry about that. The other thing you can do is to put it in a sink full of cold water, change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is finished thawing,” she suggests.

While there are no concrete statistics on food poisoning during Thanksgiving, up to 48 million people in the United States are affected by the illness annually.