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Tips for avoiding food poisoning this holiday season

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turkey

WISCONSIN, (WAOW)-- You've waited for the Thanksgiving meal all year, a delicious spread full of your favorite holiday foods. However, if you aren't careful in the kitchen, you could end up sick instead of stuffed.

"There's a lot of different bacteria and viruses that can make you sick if food is not cooked properly, stored properly," said Jordan Mason, DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases Expert. 

When cooking with meat, it is important to cook it long enough and hot enough to cook out the germs.

"If you don't reach that temperature, what you've really done is provide a nice space for that bacteria to incubate and grow and multiply," Mason said.

To keep the bacteria from spreading, experts say to make sure the thickest part of the turkey reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and watch out for cross-contamination with raw meats. Contamination can happen on kitchen counters and in the refrigerator.

"Keeping those raw meats, that raw poultry, that raw turkey on the lowest levels of the refrigerator and keeping all the prepared foods that you aren't going to be cooking before serving above that," said Registered Dietician Emilie Williamson.

Both under cooked meat and cross-contamination can lead to foodborne illness and that can leave both you and your guests with symptoms including nausea, diarrheas, and vomiting.

"Meat products can be contaminated in their processing and that's why it's really important when you get it that you cook the meat thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be on it from the processing of that product," Mason said.

If you think you might have food poisoning, call your doctor, they may prescribe fluids and rest or a hospital visit if severe enough. 

Have any story ideas? You can send them bslaughter@waow.com 

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