Nobody wants to spend Thanksgiving sick in bed, so Iowa cooks are reminded to take a few common-sense precautions in handling their pre-cooked turkeys. Dixie Fullerton, an environmental health inspector in Cerro Gordo County, says you need to worry about bacteria even before you pick out the bird.Fullteron says you have to be careful from the time when you first buy the turkey at the store. Get it home and into the freezer or fridge in a timely manner. Wash the countertops, wash your hands regularly and use separate utensils so the fork or knife that touches raw meat doesn’t cross-contaminate other foods. Fullerton says bacteria is bad news as it can bring on food poisoning rather rapidly. Symptoms are flu-like, including diarrhea and vomitting. Fullerton says doing a few simple things will help prevent the spread of bacteria. She says the first step in cooking the turkey is making sure it is properly thawed. Fullerton says it should say on the package how long it would take to thaw the turkey in your refrigerator, and you should never leave a turkey out on the counter to thaw. For more information about holiday food safety, visit the U-S-D-A web site: “www.foodsafety.gov”, or call the U-S-D-A Meat and Poultry Hotline: 800-535-4555.
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