Press Release

American Association of Poison Control Centers Provides Food Preparation Tips for an Enjoyable and Healthy Thanksgiving Meal

November 21, 2016 | Download PDF

ALEXANDRIA, VA –While Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather, express gratitude, and enjoy a meal together, it is also a time when America’s poison centers are especially concerned about the increased risk of food poisoning. This Thanksgiving, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) offers a few simple food safety tips to ensure you, your family, and friends have a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving meal.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 6, or 48 million people contract food poisoning each year, with approximately 128,000 of those people being hospitalized and 3,000 dying of illnesses associated with food poisoning. “America’s 55 poison centers help manage tens of thousands of cases involving suspected food poisoning each year,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director. “However, the good news is that food poisoning is largely preventable. By taking a few simple food safety precautions, you can avoid food poisoning during your Thanksgiving festivities. And remember, if you do suspect food poisoning, expert help is a quick, free call away at 1-800-222-1222.”

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within hours of eating contaminated food, and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea. Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. While most food poisoning cases are mild and resolve without medical care, some episodes can be more severe and require expert treatment advice. “Pregnant women, young children, and those with vulnerable immune systems should be especially cautious during the holiday season. By saving the Poison Help phone number into a mobile telephone, anyone can be prepared in the event of a poisoning emergency,” said Kaminski.

AAPCC offers the following simple food safety tips for preparing and enjoying your Thanksgiving meals:

PREPARE:

  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator, and while prepping.
  • Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food and before touching or eating other foods. Wash produce but not eggs, meat, or poultry, which can spread harmful bacteria.
  • Use the microwave, cold water, or the refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw or marinate these items on the counter, and be sure to cook them immediately after thawing.

COOK:

  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘Danger Zone,’ which is between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit. In general, it’s best to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
  • Use a food thermometer to check if meat is fully cooked and heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cook turkey until it reaches 165° F.
  • The safest way to cook stuffing is outside of the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you choose to cook stuffing inside the turkey, stuff the turkey just before cooking, and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is finished cooking and place in a separate serving dish.

STORE:

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within two hours – at 40° F or below to help reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by completely and securely covering foods in the refrigerator.
  • Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.

For more Thanksgiving poison safety tips and resources, visit AAPCC’s Thanksgiving Poison Safety webpage: http://www.aapcc.org/prevention/thanksgiving-poison-safety/.

For more information, the media may contact Angela Gonzales, AAPCC Associate Manager, Communications and Outreach, at 703-894-1865 or gonzales@aapcc.org.

AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, CDC, FDA and EPA, as well as private industry. Be prepared for a poisoning emergency and program the Poison Help phone number into your mobile telephone today – 1 (800) 222-1222.

To learn more, visit www.aapcc.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@AAPCC).

For More Information

  • Edward V. Walrod

    • Associate Manager for Media and Public Relations
    • Email: media at aapcc dot org
    • 703-894-1863

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