Thanksgiving Safety Tips 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching! Family, food and football all make the day a special one. Take a look at the list of tips we’ve gathered to help your day run smooth and safe.

Thaw the Turkey

  • For every 4-5 lbs. of turkey, it takes 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Cold water thawing takes about 30 minutes per pound.
  • Microwave thaw – follow microwave manufacturers direction, cook immediately.

Prepare to Cook

  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Keep food separated by using different cutting boards, bagging different meats in the refrigerator, and keeping items separated while grocery shopping.
  • Clean all utensils and counters with soapy water to avoid contamination.
  • Marinate meats and poultry in a dish in the refrigerator.

Fresh Turkey

  • Buy the turkey 1-2 days before you plan to cook it.
  • Do not buy a fresh pre-stuffed turkey (harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly).


  • Cook meats to the recommended temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure.
  • Allow meats to rest for a few minutes before carving.
  • If you are using a slow cooker, follow USDA guidelines to ensure the contents are cooked completely.

Kitchen Safety

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Check food regularly.
  • Use a timer.
  • Stay alert –don’t use the stove top if you are sleepy or drinking alcohol.
  • Keep things that can catch on fire away from the stove top – mitts, towels & paper.
  • Have a first aid kit handy – first aid kit.
  • Use these tips in case of minor burns.462520803


  • Perishable foods should not be left out longer than 2 hours. Less if air temperatures are 90 degrees or higher.

Fire Prevention & Turkey Fryer Safety 

  • Keep the fryer outside and away from the house.
  • Never walk away from a turkey fryer.
  • Do not try to put out a grease fire with water!
  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing around an open flame.
  • Replace small extinguishers every 4-5 years, and recharge extinguishers yearly with inspections.
  • When in doubt, call 9-1-1. Don’t try to fight a fire that could leave you trapped.

Food Safety

  • Store leftovers in shallow covered containers and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • If you have a question regarding food safety, storage or nutrition, the Oakland County Public Health Division and MSU Extension program are here to help!
  • Use shallow containers for food storage and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.
  • Use leftovers within 4 days.
  • Meats thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooling.  Do not do this with other methods of thawing.

Animals & Children

  • If the kids are helping with preparation, make sure they are in sight at all times.
  • Don’t let children put their faces or hands near stove tops. Splashes and open flames can cause harm.
  • Make sure all pot handles are turned inward to avoid little hands grabbing what they shouldn’t.
  • Keep knives and other sharp utensils, like apple cutters, out of reach of children.
  • Keeping the floor clear of toys, animals, bags or children, will prevent tripping and spilling.
  • Do not allow cords to dangle off the counter where children or animals can get them. Also do not string electrical cords across walkways.
  • While you love your guests, your animals may not. If they are antsy or uncomfortable around company, put them in a room with their favorite toy or treat to keep them distracted.
  • Pets can be masters of begging, but don’t give in during the Holidays! Foods such as: Avocado, onion, tomato, and grapes can be toxic to their health.
  • You know your pet better than anyone, so avoid sharing leftovers if their stomach is not strong enough for greasy turkey skin or decadent treats they aren’t used to.

Important Numbers & Websites

Now you’re ready to have safe Thanksgiving!

Visit the Oakland County website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more news and fun year round. Join the conversation using #OaklandCounty.

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