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A Thanksgiving Cook's Food Safety Prep List

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on November 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you've taken on the task of preparing Thanksgiving dinner, or even if you're just bringing a homemade pie to a party, food safety is a serious concern. Inattention could lead to legal consequences and more importantly, some family strife.

Your goal is to create something delicious to share with family and friends over the holiday. But you also want to make sure the only medical issues are due to overeating.

Take care when preparing food this holiday to make sure you don't hurt yourself or anyone else. Not sure what to be careful about? Let us dish out some suggestions to prevent injury:

  • Avoid the danger zone. To avoid the spread of bacteria, refrigerated food must be kept below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooking meat, let it reach a minimum internal temperature of 135 degrees to kill potential pathogens. Use a thermometer in your turkey and keep one in the fridge so you can keep an eye on temperatures.

  • Separate allergens. There's a good chance that at least one of the guests at your Thanksgiving dinner will have serious food allergies. Ask guests beforehand if they are allergic to any foods and if so, make a note of which dishes could be a problem. Use separate utensils when serving to avoid cross-contamination.

  • Sharpen your knives. A dull knife requires additional pressure to cut through food, which means any cuts will be deeper and more serious. Keeping your knives sharp around the holidays means even if you cut yourself, it will be less of a problem.

  • Watch out for burns. Lots of things on the stove and in the oven makes it more likely you'll accidentally burn yourself while reaching for something. Turn pot handles so they aren't blocking your reach, as they get hot over time. It also helps to keep some first aid like burn cream in a kitchen drawer for quick treatment.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Even if you're a careful and methodical cook, things could go wrong and you could find yourself facing a grease fire. A fire extinguisher will make short work of the problem and you'll be laughing over take-out food in no time.

But what if you're the victim of poor food preparation? Can you file a lawsuit to get compensation for your medical bills? Even on Thanksgiving, you can ask the experts at the FindLaw Answers Forum, or search for an experienced personal-injury lawyer near you.

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