Turkey Food Safety


MediBid’s team wants to wish you a Happy Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day!  Here is some info that might help keep you and your family safe before, during, and after the holiday festivities:

Partial Cooking: Never brown or partially cook turkey to refrigerate and finish cooking later. It is safe to partially cook or microwave turkey if it is immediately transferred to a hot grill to finish cooking.

Storage and Safe Handling

Because product dates are not a guide for safe use of a product, follow these tips for use at top quality: purchase the product before the date expires; follow handling recommendations on product. Turkey is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent or slow the growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. The grocery should be the last stop before going home. At home, immediately put turkey products in a refrigerator that maintains 40 °F or below, or freeze at 0 °F or below. Freezer storage times are for best quality. If frozen continuously, turkey products will be safe indefinitely.

Storage Times
Turkey Item Refrigerator Storage Freezer Storage
Fresh whole turkey 1 to 2 days 12 months
Fresh turkey parts 1 to 2 days 9 months
Ground turkey, giblets 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Cooked turkey 3 to 4 days 4 months
Cooked turkey dishes 3 to 4 days 4 to 6 months
Turkey broth, gravy 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Lunch meat unopened 2 weeks;
opened 3 to 5 days
1 to 2 months

(325 °F oven temperature)

These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed food thermometer. A whole turkey is safe cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the bird. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.

For optimum safety, do not stuff whole poultry. It is recommended to cook stuffing outside the bird. If stuffing whole poultry, the center of the stuffing must reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. Let the bird stand 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

Approximate Turkey Cooking Times
Product Weight Unstuffed Timing Stuffed Timing
Breast, Half 2 to 3 pounds 50 to 60 minutes Not applicable
Breast, Whole 4 to 6 pounds 1½ to 2¼ hours Not applicable
Breast, Whole 6 to 8 pounds 2¼ to 3¼ hours 3 to 3½ hours
Whole turkey 8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours 4¾ to 5¼ hours
Drumsticks 3/4 to 1 pound each 2 to 2¼ hours Not applicable
Thighs 3/4 to 1 pound each 1¾ to 2 hours Not applicable
Wings, wing drumettes 6 to 8 ounces each 1¾ to 2¼ hours Not applicable

Roasting Instructions

  1. Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  2. Be sure turkey is completely thawed. The times are based on fresh or completely thawed birds at a refrigerator temperature.
  3. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan, 2 to 2 ½ inches deep.


Read More about Turkey handling safety from the USDA: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/turkey_from_farm_to_table/index.asp#17


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