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Posted: November 19, 2020


November 19, 2020

Stay healthy and safe during turkey season

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic promotes food safety this upcoming holiday

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, promotes food safety during the upcoming holiday.

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing measures, many people may be preparing their own Thanksgiving meal at home for immediate family members for the first time. Keep in mind that handling a holiday turkey needs to be done safely.

“When handling poultry, such as turkey, you want to make sure you are doing it safely,” Katie Brown said, MS, RD/LD, CDCES, OKCIC Dietitian. “Undercooking a turkey can lead to serious foodborne illnesses.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are four ways to correctly handle, prep and cook a turkey.

  1. Thaw turkey safely: Thaw turkeys in one of the following ways:

-In the refrigerator in a container

-In a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes), or

-In the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. Handling raw turkey: Make sure to keep raw turkey separated from other foods and surfaces that food is set on. Follow the four steps of clean, separate, cook and chill to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

  2. Cook stuffing thoroughly and separately: Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easier to know if it has been thoroughly cooked. Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may cause food poisoning.

  3. Cook turkey thoroughly: Cook turkey to at least 325°F. Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

“Remember that bacteria can grow anywhere between 40°F and 140°F,” Brown said. “Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.”

Refrigerate or freeze any leftover food within 2 hours and keep foods in separate, shallow containers. When reheating your leftovers, temperatures should be at 165°F before serving.

About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and  wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 20,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit

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