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Add a dash of safety to your holiday menu this year

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WAOW) — Food is a major part of the way we celebrate the holidays, but this year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's even more important to make sure everything is handled carefully.

"If you’re taking shortcuts you could put that bird and your family in danger," said Jennifer Hanlon a Registered Dietician for Aspirus Riverview Hospital. "If you haven't already thawed your turkey, take it out of the freezer, submerge it completely in cold water but that water needs to be changed every 30 minutes otherwise that water will heat up and that turkey will sit at a temperature that’s not safe."

However, it's not just your bird you need to be mindful of: make sure to wash your cutting board, utensils and surface throughout the preparation and cooking process.

Picture this, you're sitting down for dinner enjoying a fantastic meal but, the rest of the food is sitting on the counter. At that point the food safety timer starts ticking. Jennifer says, at that point, it's time to get up from the table and actually do something with that turkey.

Because leaving food out for too long will bring things to an unsafe temperature and bacteria will start to grow.

"You really don’t wanna be that person who serves this fantastic meal, and then days later people are like 'oh my gosh I got sick' it’s not a reputation you wanna have," Hanlon said.

So what about leftovers? The best thing to do is cut the meat off the bird and keep it in an open pan even and then store it safely.

For more tips on how to have a safe and healthy holiday, click here.

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