Thanksgiving is upon us, and like many Americans, you are likely eating turkey this holiday season. While many of us tend to overeat, there is another risk you should be aware of: food poisoning.

Jennie-O recently recalled 91,388 pounds of raw turkey. Do keep in mind that is the ground turkey, not the whole turkey that you may be accustomed to eating. There are four specific Jennie-O products you should avoid this Thanksgiving:

  • 1-lb. packages of Jennie-O Ground Turkey – 93% lean and 7% fat–with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of Jennie-O Ground Turkey – 85% lean and 15% fat – with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018
  • 1-lb. packages of Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018

These packages were recalled after a person’s salmonella poisoning was linked to Jennie-O turkey. An outbreak began last Thanksgiving, but was not made public until July. Since then, 164 people in 35 states have suffered from salmonella. One person in California has died. Another 63 people have been hospitalized. The source is still unknown.

Tips for Safe and Tasty Turkeys

Don’t let your Thanksgiving feast end in a trip to the hospital. Here are some tips to keep your turkey safe while making it as tasty as possible.

  • Be patient when thawing. A 20-lb. turkey can take as many as five days to defrost. the safest way is to defrost in the refrigerator.
  • Leave the turkey alone. Once the bird is in the oven, leave it there. Don’t keep opening the oven door, as this only interrupts the process. It also makes the meat dry. Just plan to check it 45 minutes before it’s scheduled to be done and remove the foil to let it brown.
  • Make sure it is fully cooked. Plan on 15 minutes per pound. This amounts to five hours for a 20-lb. bird.
  • Cool properly. Remove the meat from the bone, cover it with plastic wrap or place in a container with lid. The turkey should then be refrigerated at 35-40 degrees or frozen.
  • Freeze properly. If freezing, think small. Packages should be no more than 2 inches thick. Use heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer paper. Make sure to label and date packages so there is no confusion.
  • Do not keep the turkey for too long. Cooked turkey is good as leftovers for only 1-2 days. Turkey can be stored in the freezer for one month.