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Photo of roasted turkey on a platterIt’s the time of year when we get together with friends and family to celebrate holidays. We have some ‘turkey tips’ to help you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and healthy holiday without uninvited guests like food poisoning bacteria that will spoil the fun.

Carefully follow these directions for turkey preparation.


  • Turkeys are often purchased frozen. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking from a frozen state. If you choose to thaw your turkey before cooking, here are some tips.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or lower. Allow 24 hours for each 2.5 kg (5 pounds) to thaw. Remember the bigger the turkey, the longer it takes to thaw.
  • Place the turkey in the refrigerator on the lowest shelf and on a tray. This prevents contamination of other foods from the juices produced from thawing.
  • Do not thaw your turkey in the kitchen sink or on the counter top at room temperature.


  • Always wash your hands using soap and warm water.
  • All surfaces such as the table or cutting boards, utensils and dishes must be sanitized by a using a bleach solution. The sanitizing solution is made with 5 ml (1 tsp) of unscented bleach in 750 ml (3 cups) of water.
  • Prepare the turkey in a separate area from other foods to avoid contact with any raw juices.


Turkey can be cooked by these methods: oven, barbeque, deep fried and also smoked.

Cook the turkey thoroughly in the oven or BBQ. Remember to use a probe thermometer to check the thickest part of the breast or thigh to make sure the internal temperature reaches a minimum 82°C (180°F).

It’s not recommended to cook the stuffing in the turkey as the stuffing is dense and tends to cook slowly when packed into a turkey. Cook stuffing in a separate oven dish or on the stove top. However, if you choose to cook the turkey with stuffing use a probe thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is at least 74°C (165°F).

After Dinner

  • Do not leave turkey on the dinner table for more than 2 hours.
  • Cut and debone the meat from the cooked turkey will speed up the cooling process.  
  • Store leftovers on the upper shelving part of the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Clean all dishes, utensils, cutting board and food preparation area with warm soapy water, and a sanitizer. Use a sanitizing solution made with 5 ml (1 tsp) of unscented bleach in 750 ml (3 cups) of water.

Leftovers and Reheating

When reheating leftover turkey, make sure the internal temperature reaches 74°C (165°F). Use refrigerated leftovers as soon as possible, ideally within two or three days. You shouldn't reheat the same leftovers more than once. 

For more information contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.

Have a safe and fun filled holiday!


Health Canada, Poultry Facts

Government of Canada
Poultry safety

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