ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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USDA Offers Food Safety Messages this Thanksgiving

New York, Nov 23, 2005

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reminding Thanksgiving revelers to follow four basic food safety messages this Thursday:

  • Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often
  • Separate - Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
  • Cook - Cook to safe temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked
  • Chill - Refrigerate or freeze promptly

USDA also is providing recommendations on safely thawing turkey:

  • Frozen turkeys should be thawed prior to cooking. Turkeys, along with all frozen meat and poultry products, must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. Any harmful bacteria that may have been present prior to freezing can begin to grow again unless safe thawing methods are used.
  • There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey or other food: in the refrigerator at 40 ºF or below; in cold water; and in the microwave. When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of thawing time for every five pounds of turkey. When thawing in cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. When thawing in the microwave, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.

USDA also encourages consumers to access its food safety information through the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, which is staffed Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Time, year-round, and will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving Day. Information is available in English and Spanish. An extensive selection of recorded food safety messages is also available 24 hours a day. The toll-free phone number for the Hotline is 1-888-MPHotline or 1-888-674-6854. The toll-free number for the hearing impaired (TTY) is 1-800-256-7072. E-mail inquiries may be directed to

Consumers can also obtain food safety information 24 hours a day though the FSIS virtual representative, "Ask Karen". Additional information can also be accessed on the FSIS Web site at

For more Thanksgiving safety tips, visit the ANSI Media Tip on Thanksgiving.