In observance of Thanksgiving Day, all Arvest branches and the customer service line will be closed on Thursday, November 26th.

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Let’s talk turkey. Turkey preparation safety, specifically. Research indicates that about 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving. If you plan to include turkey in your holiday meal, here are some food safety tips to consider, ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones:

Wash your hands. Handwashing is the first step to safe food prep. It reduces the risk of foodborne illness and is especially important after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or egg products. Follow these 5 steps to properly wash your hands and keep your loved ones safe:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water, then apply soap
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails
  • Scrub your hands for a least 20 seconds
  • Rinse your hands under clean, running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel

Prevent cross-contamination. Turkeys can be large and hard to handle, which makes the risk of cross-contamination high. Be sure to clean surfaces after handling raw turkey and before prepping any additional food. To clean surfaces, wash them with soap and warm water to remove dirt and debris. Then use an alcohol or chlorine bleach-based solution to sanitize. Sanitizing will reduce the number of bacteria present on a surface, leaving it safe from harmful bacteria.

Fully cook your food. The only way to kill bacteria is to fully cook your turkey. To properly take the internal temperature, test it in the thickest part of the breast, the innermost area of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh. Once all three tested locations reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the turkey is safe to eat.

Follow the two-hour rule. Some people prefer leftovers more than the meal itself, but before you go back for seconds, make sure perishable foods have not been sitting out for two or more hours. During a two- hour time frame, bacteria can rapidly multiply and cause the food to become unsafe. Make sure all leftovers are placed in the refrigerator within two hours to safely enjoy them later.

By incorporating these easy- as- pie safeguards into your Thanksgiving meal preparations, you will be able to enjoy a safe and enjoyable meal.