Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Posted: 11/21/2017


Thanksgiving is an important holiday for many families. People travel from all over the country and even some parts of the world to be together and to enjoy Thanksgiving food. We want to make sure your Thanksgiving is a safe one so we've pulled together some Thanksgiving food safety tips. 

To Do:

  • Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. For a 5-12 pound turkey, it will take 1-3 days. For a 12-16 pound turkey, it will take 3-4 days. For a 16-20 pound turkey, it will take 4-5 days.
  • Cook your turkey to an internal temperature of 165F. Take three temperatures to ensure that the internal temperature was reached. Thickest part of the breast, innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing are the recommended locations. 
  • If possible, keep your hot food hot (135F or higher) and your cold food cold (41F or lower) during dinner. Keeping your food at the right temperature prevents bacteria growth. 

Not To Do:

  • Do not leave your food out at room temperature. If your food spends two hours or more in the Temperature Danger Zone (41F-135F), it must be thrown out.
  • Do not use personal utensils to refill your plate. Utilize serving utensils to prevent contamination.
  • Discard Thanksgiving leftovers after 3-4 days in your refrigerator. If you are freezing your leftovers, consume them within 2-6 months for best quality.

For more Thanksgiving food safety tips, visit the USDA website here.

To enhance your food safety knowledge, register for one of our ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification classes. Click the register button below to access the registration page and to see available class dates.


Our website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By continuing to, you consent to our use of cookies. To learn more, please read our updated Privacy Policy. x