Practicing Food Safety When Cooking with Turkey

Food safety is a top priority for the turkey industry, and we take great pride in producing safe, nutritious and delicious food for American consumers.

It is important to remember that bacteria are naturally present in the environment and as a result, raw poultry products may contain bacteria. The only way to remove all bacteria from food and make it safe to eat is through proper cooking. Turkey should never be eaten raw or even “rare.” Cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165° F, as measured by a food thermometer, is recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Turkey Federation.

Proper storage and handling must occur throughout distribution and preparation to ensure food safety is maintained. As with all fresh products, consumers should wash their hands and cooking utensils thoroughly, avoid cross contamination with other foods, cook food to a proper internal temperature and refrigerate promptly to prevent food safety problems.

These food safety tips will help protect you and your family from foodborne illnesses.

Food Safety Tips

Wash hands with soap vigorously before and after handling raw poultry.
Follow the five steps below to wash your hands the right way every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen.

Cook turkey and all meats immediately after thawing.

Refrigerate promptly and properly.


Partnership for Food Safety Education – Fight Bac!
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline: 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854)