Thanksgiving food preparation and safety tips


MASON CITY, Iowa – Many people are planning for their Thanksgiving feast Thursday. Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health environmental health service manager Brian Hanft provides a few kitchen practices to avoid food poisoning.

Hanft said thawing your turkey in the refrigerator days ahead of time will help avoid food poisoning.  He said avoid leaving any meat on the counter.

“That temperature starts to rise and it allows bacteria to grow in that food product, which if it grows large enough quantities,” said Hanft, “someone is getting sick.”

Matt Schul of Mason City shopped for a turkey at Hy-Vee on Monday.

“I’m getting the turkey now, and right when I get home it’s going in the fridge so Wednesday morning, it’ll be thawed and ready.”

If the bird is too big for the fridge, Hanft recommended running the meat under cool water in the sink. He said when it’s time to transfer meat into the oven, make sure to use a thermometer and cook thoroughly at 165 degrees.

“The cooking is a kill step,” said Hanft. “If there is bacteria on that particular product, if you cook it, you kill it.”

Hanft said if there are left overs, put food items straight in the refrigerator to snack on for the next few days. “If it’s going to be longer than 2-3 days, it makes more sense to take that turkey or any other food and put in the freezer and it’ll be good two to six months.”

For additional information on food preparation tips, visit





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