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County health commissioner on holiday food safety

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The kitchen will be a gathering point for many families this Thanksgiving.  And local health officials are urging the public to put safety first when preparing holiday meals.Uncooked poultry -- in this case, your holiday turkey -- may contain harmful bacteria that is only killed by cooking it at the proper temperature. 

Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein says after preparing your turkey for cooking, wash your hands, utensils and work surfaces so that any bacteria is not transferred to other foods.  

Burstein encourages the cooking of stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish.  But if you insist on putting the stuffing in the turkey, she says use a food thermometer to make sure it reaches a minimum temperature of 165. 

The health commissioner says the turkey should be completely thawed before cooking.  The oven temperature should be set no lower than 325.  Cooking times vary, depending on the weight of the turkey.

And she says refrigerate all leftovers within two hours after preparation. 

If you find yourself in trouble in the kitchen Thanksgiving day -- WBFO has a lifeline -- "The Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential"will be taking calls from 11am till 1pm.