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Let's Talk Turkey: USDA Dispels Cooking Myths, Offers Tips
Updated November 17, 2016 6:50 AM | Filed under: Health
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(UNDATED) - An estimated 1 in 6 (48 million) Americans get sick from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thanksgiving is a time to be especially careful, as Americans are preparing a dish (turkey) they do not cook on a regular basis and for larger numbers of people. With more than 46 million turkeys cooked this holiday, there's no better time to encourage families to safely prepare their meal by following four simple steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.

USDA experts are helping to dispel many common myths surrounding the preparation and serving of the holiday turkey meal. Serious illness can result from several commonly-held "time-saving" practices such as: stuffing the turkey the night before; thawing the bird on the counter; and serving a turkey once it is golden brown and the juices run clear. These actions put family members at risk for food poisoning.

Food Safety Experts will also share data from the recent 2016 Food & Drug Administration Food Safety Survey which examines the food safety practices of Americans.

To learn more about food safety practices this Thanksgiving, please visit or call the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET and from 8 a.m, to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Families can also access "Ask Karen," an online database of answers to specific questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses available 24/7.

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