Illinois health department offers safety tip for thawing frozen turkey for Thanksgiving

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CHICAGO — Families planning to eat turkey for their Thanksgiving feasts on Thursday should take a moment to think about food safety.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it's important to give a frozen turkey enough time to thaw thoroughly before cooking.

A turkey that's still partially frozen won't get up to the 165-degree temperature needed to kill bacteria that cause disease.

Thawing a turkey in the refrigerator takes about 24 hours for every four to five pounds. Thawing a turkey in cold water takes about 30 minutes per pound.

That means a 20- to 24-pound turkey can take five or six days to thaw in the refrigerator. Even in cold water, it takes 10-12 hours.


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