Local experts offer food safety tips for Thanksgiving

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Studies show Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday, so all this week, 9 On Your Side is taking a look at the reasons why to help ensure safety, including the dangers in the kitchen itself.

Many studies show the most dangerous part about Thanksgiving is how food is prepared and maintained. So WNCT went to local experts to get some tips to make sure the Thanksgiving feast doesn’t make anyone sick.

  • Don’t wash raw meat. That can cause bacteria to spread up to 3 feet away.
  • Use the fridge, the cold-water method, or the microwave to defrost a frozen turkey.
  • Use a meat thermometer.
  • Properly sanitize all cutting boards and knifes between each food.
  • Store food properly at a temperature below 40 degrees.
  • Be careful about leaving food out too long.

“You leave that food out on the table all day because you think there’s some other people coming over, you’re in a festive attitude, you want to feed all these people, but if you leave that food out for more than four hours then there’s a possibility of a growth of microorganisms that can make you sick,” said ECU Environmental Health Program Director William Hill.

48 million people get sick with food borne illnesses every year. That’s 1 in every 6 Americans. Two of the most common days for these are Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl.

“All this food being prepared and being transported and not being properly maintained is always a big issue. But again, if you thaw it properly and you reheat those leftovers properly, you store the food properly and use clean hands, then you should be okay,” Hill said.

Thanksgiving is also the unofficial beginning of heart attack season. Family stress paired with indulgent meals can cause big problems for people with issues like high blood pressure or heart disease. The American Heart Association says the chances of having a heart attack quadruple within 2 hours of having a large meal.

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