Cooking a turkey safely

Each year, 3,000 Americans die from food poisoning. This Thanksgiving, you certainly don’t want to be responsible for making anyone sick while preparing the big meal. The USDA is offering some refreshers to make sure we have a safe holiday.

"You’ll have many generations, maybe, at your meal. You might have young people, you might have older people, and you might have people that are under the weather that maybe have compromised immune systems. Those people are all at higher risk for foodborne illness," says Marianne Gravely with the Food and Safety Inspection Service.

-First, make sure you safely thaw your turkey. Figure a day for every five pounds of weight, and always thaw in the refrigerator.

-Do not wash the turkey. If you do, you run the risk of splashing bacteria around the kitchen. Remember, the only way to kill bacteria is by cooking it.

-Next, if you’re brining the bird, also do that in the fridge or find a way to keep the water cold.

-When it comes to cooking the turkey, it must reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the thickest part of the breast, the inner thigh and wing.

-Don’t leave the turkey out for more than two hours and eat up any leftovers within four days. Leftovers can also be frozen, but will taste the best if eaten up by four months.