Food Safety during Thanksgiving

Holidays may look a little different this year but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of our favorite holiday meals! To keep ourselves and loved ones safe this Thanksgiving it is important to keep food safety in mind.

As you are buying food for your holiday feast, it is important to be aware of where you place food items in your refrigerator. The bottom shelves should have foods that require the highest cooking temperatures, like poultry and meats. The upper shelves should include your “ready-to-eat” foods, which means that you will not be cooking them before serving. As you are preparing to cook the turkey, meat, seafood or eggs at your holiday meal, use a food thermometer to make sure these foods have reached a safe internal temperature (Cooking Temperatures are listed below). Prepared and perishable foods should be put in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours after your Thanksgiving feast to prevent food poisoning or foodborne illnesses.

Recommended Internal Temperatures:

135 degrees Fahrenheit – Hot Held Foods

145 degrees Fahrenheit – Seafood, Whole Cuts of Meat and Eggs

155 Degrees Fahrenheit – Ground Meat

165 degrees Fahrenheit – Poultry and previously cooked dished (casseroles)

40-140 degrees Fahrenheit: Temperature Danger Zone (keep foods out of this range because bacterial growth is increased)

By following these food safety tips while preparing your Thanksgiving meal you can ensure that the meal will be delicious and safe for your family and friends!

Written by Sarah Michaels – University of Idaho Dietetic Student (2020)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Food Safety Tips for Holidays. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from

Food Safety Training and Certification. (2020). Refrigerator Storage Chart. State Food Safety. Retrieved from

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