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SAN DIEGO COUNTY
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SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Your Precooked Holiday Dinner---Serve it Safely!

Are you taking it easy this holiday by purchasing a complete pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner? 

Don't invite foodborne bacteria as dinner guests.  Follow these steps when you bring dinner home:

If it's hot from the oven: Keep food in the oven at 140° and eat within 2 hours.

If you're eating later in the day: Food shouldn't be kept hot for longer than 2 hours. As soon as you bring it home...

• Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity, put it in a shallow container in the refrigerator. (No need to cool it first.)
• Cut up a whole turkey into smaller pieces, including slicing the breast meat and put it in the refrigerator. It's OK to leave the legs and wings whole.
• Refrigerate potatoes, gravy, and vegetables in shallow containers (so they quickly reach a safe temperature of 40° or below).
• Keep cold food cold by putting it in the refrigerator.

When its time to eat:

  • Reheat the turkey, dressing and side dishes until hot and steaming, or (the best way) until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured by a food thermometer.
  • Bring gravy to a rolling boil.
  • If using a microwave oven, cover the food and rotate the dish so it heats evenly.

After dinner:"Chill" before you chill out.

  • Put all perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Cut up leftover turkey into small pieces before refrigerating.
  • Place the leftover turkey, stuffing, and side dishes into shallow containers and refrigerate at 40 °F or below.
  • Don't forget to refrigerate the desserts, particularly any prepared with eggs or dairy products such as pumpkin pie.
  • Freeze any leftovers you won't be able to eat within 3-4 days.
  • Throw away any perishable food left out for more than 2 hours---including raw or cooked vegetables, and cut fruit. (Getting food borne illness (aka food poisoning) is no holiday!)

After 3-4 days
Throw out any uneaten leftovers.

 

Other food safety questions?
Call the “USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline” 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) which is open on Thanksgiving Day from 8:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m. Eastern Time and regularly Monday- Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.

E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov

Get answers 24/7 from “Ask Karen”, the FSIS automated response system:
Online: www.fsis.usda.gov
Mobile phones: m.askkaren.gov

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