Health Risks of Undercooked Turkey

What temperature should turkey be cooked to? 

| Fox News – With Thanksgiving comes delicious pie, rolls, stuffing, and of course, turkey.

Whether this is your first time cooking the traditional meal or you’re a seasoned veteran, there are serious risks of consuming undercooked turkey meat — namely food poisoning caused the by Salmonella bacteria. [Days Before Thanksgiving, Turkey Crapped On In 35 States]

“The most common bacteria people tend to associate with undercooked poultry is Salmonella. However, poultry may also carry campylobacter, E. coli and other bacteria,” Dena Champion, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University.

Each year in the United States, roughly 1.2 million people are sickened by Salmonella and 23,000 are hospitalized, according to the CDC.

The illness — which can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps, among other side effects — is usually caused by eating or drinking foods contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria, according to Healthline.

“Keep in mind that cross-contamination can put your family at risk,” Champion warned.

“While thoroughly cooking your turkey is an important way to stay safe from foodborne illness, you may still become ill if the bacteria has made its way to other surfaces like cutting boards, counters, towels, etc.,” she added.

What is the temperature a turkey should be cooked to?

A turkey is ready to eat when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, Champion said, adding a thermometer “should be placed in 3 places: in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast.”

Despite popular belief, a turkey is not necessarily ready to come out of the oven if its juices are running clear, Ben Chapman, food safety specialist and assistant professor of food science at North Carolina State University, told Live Science.

“Color is not an indicator of safety or doneness,” he warned. Read more. 

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