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Keeping You Safe: Food safety as your prepare your Thanksgiving feast

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:46 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Frying your turkey is a delicious tradition but it can also be a dangerous one.

Capt. Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department walked us through how we can safely fry a turkey.

Evans said to cover your hands with oven mitts, measure your oil and put the pot outside, away from anything that can catch on fire.

“Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you put it into the oil because we all know that water and oil don’t mix, so that could great a pretty big explosion as well. Also, any time you put the turkey in or take it out, make sure you have that burner turned off so if it does overflow, it doesn’t catch those flames and doesn’t make a big fireball as well,” said Evans.

If something does go wrong, Evans said do not throw water on the fire. Instead, use a fire extinguisher, turn off your propane and call 911.

“If you know what you’re doing, if you’re doing it right, then you can be safe, just like anything else,” he said.

Swapping the deep fryer for the oven? It’s important to wash your hands but not the turkey.

“There are bacteria or disease-causing agents that are living on the turkey itself. When you go to wash the turkey, you’re washing them in the sink, you’re washing them on the utensils and that spreads it,” said Dr. Shelly Timmons, Nutrition Education Specialist.

Timmons said you should cook the turkey at 325 degrees. Your turkey should also reach a temperature of 165 degrees.

“There is a danger zone for cooking it. So, for example, 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, that promotes bacterial growth,” said Timmons.

And, we can’t forget about our sides. Timmons said we can keep them sitting out for up to two hours before storing them in the fridge.

“That two hours starts right at the end of cooking,” she said. “There’s several thousands of bacteria growth within 20 minutes. So, imagine that times the number of hours it’s left out.”

Sadly, we can’t snack on them forever. Our Thanksgiving leftovers can safely stick around for about three days, according to Timmons.

“Thanksgiving happens on a Thursday every year right. So, by Monday, everything should be thrown out.”

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