New York State Department of Health Reminds New Yorkers of Importance of Food Preparation Safety Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

ALBANY, NY (November 21, 2018) – The state health department is reminding all New Yorkers of the importance of safe food preparation ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

"As Thanksgiving is a time for family, food and friends, we want to make sure New Yorkers stay healthy while enjoying the holiday season," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "Practicing simple food preparation safety throughout the holidays is the best way to prevent foodborne illnesses and keep your friends and family healthy."

This reminder follows Governor Cuomo urging New Yorkers to heed the food safety alert from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to not eat any romaine lettuce due to an E. coli outbreak across the country. The CDC is advising consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home to not eat it and throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. The CDC is also urging retailers and restaurants not to serve or sell any romaine lettuce until further notice. Thirty-two cases of people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producingE. colihave been reported in 11 states, including two in New York State. The illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2018 to October 31, 2018.Here are some food preparation safety tips:

  • Wrap fresh meats in plastic bags at the market to prevent blood and juices from dripping on other foods. Refrigerate foods promptly, and do not keep food at room temperature.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator. Don't taste the marinade or re-use it after raw meat has been added.
  • Never place cooked food on an unwashed surface that previously held raw beef, poultry, pork, fish or seafood.
  • Cutting boards and counters used for beef, poultry, pork, fish or seafood preparation should be washed immediately after use to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
  • Don't spread germs from raw poultry and other raw meats around food preparation areas. Washing raw meat before cooking is not recommended.
  • Wash your hands after touching raw meat. Use utensils to handle the cooked meat. Do not place cooked meat on surfaces that had raw meat.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats. While the juice color will usually change from red to gray when the meat is fully cooked, it is not a reliable test to assure it is safe to eat.
  • Always check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Foods that reach the temperatures listed below or higher are fully cooked.
    • Food Temperature
      Poultry 165° F
      Hamburger 160° F
      Pork 150° F
      Leftovers 165° F
      Eggs 145° F
      Other foods 140° F

To check the temperature of the meat, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, which is the least cooked part. Be careful not to pass through the meat and touch the cooking surface or you will get a false high temperature reading.

For more information on food preparation safety and preventing Salmonella poisoning, visit: and

Have questions about Thanksgiving food safety? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English and Spanish. You can also chat live at If you need help on Thanksgiving Day, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time.