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Health officials promote ‘two-hour rule’ for food safety this Thanksgiving


Health officials are hoping Americans will remember the "two-hour rule" when they stuff their stomachs on Thursday.

The rule says food should be refrigerated two hours after it is served to prevent it from developing pathogens that can lead to food-borne illnesses.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health spokesperson Ryan Sheehan said people should keep food safety in mind if they want to have a happy Thanksgiving.

“I know no one wants to clean after you just had the big meal, but within two hours, all that food needs to be in the fridge," Sheehan said. "And then otherwise, if it’s out too long bacteria can develop in the food, of course, and cause food poisoning. So within two hours all the food needs to be refrigerated."

Those leftovers can be safely stored in the fridge for up to four days, the USDA says. Frozen items are best used in four to six months.

Turkey should also be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees to avoid illnesses. Raw turkey can contain salmonella and other germs that make humans sick.

Sheehan said that when thawing out your turkey make sure you keep it in the bag until it is ready to be cooked. That will keep the juices in the bag from contaminating other surfaces.

Some foods have recently been recalled, too.

The HMC Group Marketing, Inc., is voluntarily recalling its peaches, plums and nectarines sold in stores between May 1 and Nov. 15. Wilcox Ice Cream has recalled all its flavors, yogurt, ice cream bars and Leonardo's brand gelato.

Both are being recalled because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogens. It's an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.

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Jazsmin Halliburton


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