This Thanksgiving — Simple, Safe & Sane

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A Healthy Home Holiday

Keeping your family safe from a foodborne illness is more important than ever. With the healthcare system fully employed to help people who have coronavirus, it is important to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital emergency room.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education urges all Americans to follow the CDC’s guidance on holiday gatherings and plan to not congregate with people from outside of your household. COVID-19 is a very serious risk — plan accordingly.

For your household-only Thanksgiving meal, here are a few ideas for keeping it simple and setting yourself up for success:

(1) Prepare a smaller traditional turkey

  • A small turkey of 8 pounds will feed 8 people and take about 2.5 hours to roast. Remember, a food thermometer is essential to successful turkey roasting. The internal temperature of the turkey should reach 165 °F. Once it does, remove it from the oven, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • A bone-in turkey breast is a great option for a household meal. A bone-in whole turkey breast of 4 to 6 pounds will feed 6 people. It will take between 1.5 to 2 hours to roast and — again — it is only done when your thermometer reaches 165 °F. Let it rest 20 minutes or more before serving.


(2) Focus on favorite side dishes!

  • Choose your two favorite sides to prepare. Keep things simple, and set yourself up for success by limiting the number of side dishes you make.
  • When using delicious frozen options, remember to serve them safely by following package and preparation instructions.


(3) Follow the Core Four practices for safety

  • Clean: Every recipe begins with handwashing. Wash hands with soap and water before starting food prep — every meal, every time. Wash your hands often with soap and water throughout the day.
  • Separate: Prevent cross-contamination from harmful bacteria by separating raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Cook: Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry and egg dishes, to make sure that the food is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Chill: Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 °F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.


When home cooks follow the Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill food safety steps, they will help reduce the risk of food poisoning.

We’ve got many delicious, downloadable recipes that include basic food safety steps built right in. Join our e-mail list for reminders and resources on home food safety.

The Partnership wishes you a simple, safe and sane holiday season!