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5 Ways to Not Ruin Thanksgiving - the Public Health Version

Posted By Jonathan Noel, Monday, November 25, 2013

We start our countdown with number 5 (countdown's always add that extra flair for the dramatic, don't they?)

5) Keep your kitchen clean.
Between raw vegetables, raw meat, and stuffing which is design to soak up anything around it, there are a lot of chances for cross-contamination, and about 1 in 7 home kitchens would fail a standard health inspection. Remember to wash your hands, knives, cutting boards, and pots/pans before switching to a new type of food. 

4) Refrigerate your leftovers quickly
I like my day-after Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches and I want to keep it that way.  But in the post-Thanksgiving meal haze, don't forget to throw whatever hasn't been inhaled into the fridge within at most 2 hours.  Bacteria can reproduce quickly.  E. coli does it in 20 minutes. If that isn't enough, check out the video below.

3) If you are going to drink, watch the game
Last year, there were 178 car crashes on Thanksgiving.  In 2011, there were 2 deaths.  If you want a glass a wine, pint of beer, or something stronger to keep you warm, go for it.  But stay home and watch football.  That's what it is there for.

2) Your turkey looks hot...and it should
A fully cooked turkey need to be at least 165 degrees in the very center of the bird to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi living on and within the bird.  Still thinking about pulling the turkey out a few minutes early?  Watch that E. coli video again.  I dare you.

1) Don't Fry a Frozen...Anything
Fried turkey may be the best I've ever had, but make sure it is completely thawed first.  Make sure to pat it dry too.  When ice or water hits boiling oil, it instanly vaporizes, causes bubbles, causing the oil to overflow the pan, which then catches fire from the heating element you are using.  There are about 1,900 fires each year on Thanksgiving around the country.  Not all from turkey frying, but it is certainly the most dramatic example.

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