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The safe way to stuff a turkey

Updated: December 19, 2012 11:57AM

Q. Is it OK to stuff a turkey?

A. Years ago it was unheard of NOT to stuff your turkey. These days, things have changed because of growing awareness of food-borne illnesses. The good news is that there’s a way to safely stuff a turkey.

If you make your own stuffing, you can either cook and serve it on the side or follow these USDA guidelines to safely stuff a turkey:

† If you’re using raw meat, poultry or shellfish to make your stuffing, cook those first, add them to the stuffing mix and then immediately stuff your bird. If you’re preparing the stuffing ahead of time, cool it immediately and place it in shallow containers in the refrigerator.

† Cook stuffing and immediately place it in your turkey’s cavity. Stuff loosely — about 3/4 cup per pound of turkey. Don’t stuff turkeys that will be grilled, smoked, fried or microwaved.

† Don’t let your turkey sit out at room temperature — that gives pesky bacteria a good opportunity to grow. Once you’ve stuffed your bird, immediately cook it in an oven that’s set no lower than 325 degrees degrees.

† Make sure the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165 degrees.

Courtesy Toby Amidor on foodnetwork.comScripps Howard

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