Food Fun and Facts - Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips from the USDA

USDA Lists Top 5 Turkey Day Tips
(Family Features Thanksgiving Article)

What government agency is open on Thanksgiving Day?

The United States Department of Agriculture, on the job on Thanksgiving Day, to protect public health through food safety.

For 25 years, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has helped Turkey Day cooks weather a variety of culinary storms and travails.

In recent years, the Hotline has developed the innovative "Ask Karen" feature
on the Web that allows consumers to type questions online and receive an immediate reply from USDA's virtual representative 24 hours a day.

And from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, users can "chat" with a food safety expert.

These efforts are just part of a long-running campaign by USDA's food safety educators to teach Americans about the dangers of foodborne illness and the importance of adopting safe cooking and food handling behaviors.

The statistics show that approximately 5,000 Americans will die each year due to a foodborne illness - that's almost 14 people a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thanksgiving dinner is an ideal time to put food safety tips into practice because it is the most challenging for average American consumers to cook. Food safety considerations are often overlooked, especially since there may be several cooks preparing food for the celebration. "Food that is mishandled can cause very serious consequences for all, especially for "at-risk" groups - infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems," said Diane Van, USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager.

"Thanksgiving dinner can be a challenging meal to prepare because it is so time-consuming and complex," said Van. "When you factor in thawing the turkey, cooking the turkey, preparing side dishes and desserts - and making sure guests are accounted for - it is easy to forget that food safety is the most important ingredient to making the meal an enjoyable one."


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Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same.

"Ask someone poor or lonely," she always said.

Thanksgiving was Grandmother's favorite day of the year.
The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board.

But she wasn't happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner.
Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house?

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