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  1. Employee Resources
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  3. Thanksgiving Safety

Thanksgiving Safety

Release Date: November 23, 2021

As you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and family, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) want to help keep you and your loved ones safe from safety and health hazards. Make your holiday meal memorable and healthy by following these helpful tips:

  • The first step to protect you and everyone is your household is to wash your hands.
  • Make sure the food preparation surfaces and utensils are clean and sanitized before you start cooking.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from produce and cooked foods. Prepare foods that will not be cooked, like salads, before handling and preparing raw meat.
  • Thaw your turkey safely. Never leave it out on the counter at room temperature; instead, place it in a container in the refrigerator.
  • Handle your turkey right away. Clean, separate, cook, and chill to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Cook turkey and stuffing thoroughly to 165 degrees.
  • Stay at home while cooking your turkey and check on your food frequently.
  • Keep an eye on your food when cooking on your stove top.

If you have questions about preparing Thanksgiving dinner, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or live chat at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday.

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help

If you are feeling stressed or want additional tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. Your EAP provides free and confidential counseling if you are having a hard time enjoying the holiday season this year. For help or more information, contact your Component EAP or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 11/23/2021
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