Food safety isn’t simple and at Thanksgiving, mistakes in the kitchen can lead to foodborne illness. Dr. Ben Chapman, food-safety specialist and assistant professor of family and consumer sciences at North Carolina State University, can offer suggestions to ensure your Thanksgiving meal is a safe one.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans have food-borne illness annually, leading to approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. Chapman notes that holiday turkey meals have been linked to outbreaks of bacterial diseases caused by Salmonella and E. coli.
“One of the risks is undercooking,” Chapman says. “Color is not an indicator of safety or doneness. We see suggestions in recipes about making sure ‘the juices run clear,’ but that’s a myth. Cross-contamination can also be a problem – which can happen when countertops, sinks or utensils aren’t being cleaned properly between use with raw meats and other foods.”