HomeTechUSDA Warns Against Room Temperature Thawing for Turkeys

USDA Warns Against Room Temperature Thawing for Turkeys


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(KNSI) — You’ll need to thaw that frozen turkey soon, but Meredith Carothers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat and Poultry Hotline says do not put it on the counter.

“Thawing at room temperature is the thing that dooms Thanksgiving from the start,” she says. By the time the inside of the turkey is thawed, the outside has been at room temperature for hours, allowing bacteria to grow. “Those then could create heat resistant toxins that won’t be killed by the cooking process. If you eat those, it could essentially make you sick.”

“Thawing in the refrigerator is going to be the safest method of thawing,” but you need to start planning. “It will take about 24 hours at 40 degrees for every five pounds of turkey.”

Consumers can contact the Meat and Poultry Hotline to speak to a live food expert at 1-888-674-6854. The Hotline is staffed by food safety specialists with home economics, nutrition, and food technology backgrounds. The Hotline is open year-round, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.


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