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Bird dos and don'ts at holiday time

It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey. But be sure that juicy bird is thoroughly cooked. Food experts say to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperatures of both the turkey and the stuffing. A whole turkey should reach 180 degrees F in the thigh. The stuffing should reach 165 degrees.

"To prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, a turkey should be thawed in a refrigerator set below 40 degrees F. If you're pressed for time, thaw your wrapped turkey in a sink filled with cold tap water, but be sure to change the water every half hour," said Julie Bender, dietitian at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

Refrigerate leftover food within two hours after setting it out. Use leftovers within three to four days. Always boil leftover gravy before pouring on food. And, of course, wash your hands before and after handling food.

Used with permission from www.health-eheadlines.com, © 2007, Write On, Inc.

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