Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

Don’t let your Thanksgiving turkey bite you back!  Prepare that turkey properly to prevent food poisoning.  The Seneca County Department of Environmental Health reminds holiday chefs and their helpers to cook their turkey in a 350 degree oven until done.  A turkey is not done until it reaches 165 °F using a meat thermometer.  If you stuff the turkey, be sure the stuffing reaches 165 , as well, the turkey may reach 180while the stuffing finishes cooking.

The New York State Department of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) share these other important safety tips:

  • Never defrost the bird on the kitchen counter.  Instead, defrost your turkey in the refrigerator or under cold running water.
  • Don’t leave any perishable foods at room temperature for any longer than necessary.  Temperatures between 40 °F and 140 are considered the bacteria danger zone.  Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in food that is room temperature.  After two hours, bacteria can reach levels that can cause illness.
  • If you are preparing your meal to eat at a later time, cut turkey meat off the bone and remove all stuffing.  Slice the meat (legs and wings may be left whole) and refrigerate.  Store all side dishes in the refrigerator.  Later, before eating, thoroughly reheat the meat to a temperature of 165 .
  • Store leftovers properly.  If the turkey was stuffed, remove all stuffing from the cavity, place it in a shallow container and refrigerate.  Cooked turkey will keep three to four days in the refrigerator, or up to four months, if frozen.
  • Gravy and side dishes, such as stuffing and vegetables, should be stored in shallow containers in the refrigerator.  Bring the gravy to a full boil before using it.  Stuffing and gravy will keep one to two days, and side dishes, three to four days in the refrigerator.
  • Clean your hands and all surfaces that come in contact with uncooked meat.   Keep foods that will not be cooked (i.e., cranberry sauce) separate from raw poultry until clean up is done.

Food safety becomes especially important during the holidays, because food is often prepared in advance and served buffet style.  Bacteria multiply rapidly when food is left at room temperature.  Holiday meals, which can be long, multi-course affairs, with diners often taking second servings, can provide the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Just about all reheated foods, not just stuffing, need to reach a temperature hot enough to kill bacteria, which is 165 .  And, that’s where new high-tech food thermometers come in.  Instant-read thermometers have a slim metal probe that measures food, liquid, and even air temperature in seconds, from 14 to 392 .

The USDA reports that only 50 percent of cooks use a thermometer.  The USDA sees this as a critical problem, especially for turkey and stuffing.  Stuffing, cooked with the juices of a turkey, must reach 165  to kill bacteria.  And, that sometimes means that stuffing needs further cooking after the turkey is done.  USDA Food Safety experts say turkey can reach the proper internal temperature of 180 , measured in the innermost part of the thigh, before the stuffing reaches 165 .

For more information, contact the USDA through its Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-800-535-4555, or Web site: or call the Seneca County Department of Environmental Health at (315)-539-1945.


Posted December 2nd, 2016 - Public Health

Liz Wiatrowski Presentation

Liz Wiatrowski, Education Coordinator from the Council on Alcoholism and Addiction Dependencies will be at the Seneca County Office for the Aging Waterloo and Verona Village Nutrition site to update guests on current issues.  Please see the attached fliers for more details.


Verona Village


Posted December 2nd, 2016 - Office For The Aging


On March 9, 2016, the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council completed major updates to the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) and State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Energy Code).  The Uniform Code update incorporates the following documents by reference:

  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code
  • 2015 International Fire Code
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code
  • 2015 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2015 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2016 Uniform Code Supplement

The Energy Code incorporates the following documents by reference:

  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2013 ASHRAE 90.1
  • 2016 Energy Code Supplement

Effective Date – A Notice of Adoption for the Uniform Code and Energy Code update will be published in the April 6, 2016 edition of the State Register, establishing the following implementation schedule:

Uniform Code Transition Period – beginning on April 6th, regulated parties submitting a complete building permit application may comply with either the current Uniform Code or newly adopted Uniform Code as described above.  The transition period will last from April 6, 2016 until October 3, 2016.  On October 3rd, the newly adopted Uniform Code will become fully effective.

Energy Code Effective Date – On October 3, 2016, the newly adopted Energy Code as described above will become formally effective.  There is no transition period for the Energy Code.

Code Books – Copies of the 2015 International Codes and many other incorporated standards can be purchased from the International Code Council at, or call (888) 422-7233. The 2016 Uniform Code and Energy Code Supplements will be available to download from our website ( ).

For more information, please visit the New York State Division of Building Standards and Codes website.

Posted September 23rd, 2016 - Code Enforcement