Thanksgiving is a day to show gratitude and break bread with friends and family, not a time to give them food poisoning. 

A few weeks ago on the TODAY Show, Matt Lauer showed America what not to do on Thanksgiving: handling raw turkey and then eating without washing his hands. 

Viewers on social media were outraged. 

His mistake did not hurt anyone, but the potential for harm from eating raw or under-cooked meat and other contaminated food is serious. 

“Nearly 48 million people get a foodborne illness annually and that results in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths,” said Chris Bernstein, USDA. 

The USDA said turkey is safe to eat when it reaches 165 degrees. The pop-up timer is not as good of an indicator of temperature as a meat thermometer because you can use it to gauge the temperature in several parts of the bird. 

“The temperature should be checked in the thickest part of the breast, the inner-most part of the thigh and the inner-most part of the wing,” Bernstein said. 

After it gets hot enough, you have to make sure to cool down leftovers within two hours after the fest is over so bacteria don’t have time to grow. 

Your guests will thank you. 

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