2YH: Cooking your turkey thoroughly so you can enjoy dinner and not end up at the doctor

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, many are turning their attention to the menu, but you also don't want to get sick trying to prepare it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following tips will help you safely prepare your turkey.

The CDC offers tips to cooking your food safely for the holidays and recommends using a food thermometer to make sure your turkey has reached a safe internal temperature.

Thaw your turkey safely in the refrigerator in a container. You can also use a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 40 minutes) or in the microwave, following instructions.

Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety. Clean, separate, cook, and chill to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easy to be sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.

With either cooking method, use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing's center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing; this allows it to cook a little more.

"Make sure you're hand washing really well making sure you're washing fruits and vegetables. The other thing to remember is moderation. Thanksgiving we're all celebrating, we just love to eat all those wonderful foods, just make sure that if you over eat, you might have to come see us later," said Juliet Santos, Lead Provider at Alaska Express Care Clinic in Anchorage.

Email health topics and ideas to 2yh@ktuu.com.

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