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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Turkey Lovers Should Double-Check Doneness For Birds With Pop-Up Thermometers

LAS CRUCES - Trust an old-fashioned meat thermometer to tell you when your Thanksgiving turkey's done, not a pop-up thermometer, said a New Mexico state University food and nutrition specialist.

"Some of the pop-up thermometers can malfunction and pop up too quickly, which would indicate that the bird is done when actually it's not fully cooked," said Martha Archuleta with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "Eating a turkey that's not fully cooked could cause food poisoning, which is certainly something you don't want to invite to your Thanksgiving meal."

While it's fine to prepare a turkey with a pop-up thermometer, Archuleta recommends double-checking doneness with a traditional meat thermometer.

"Place the thermometer in the meatiest part of the inner thigh of the turkey," she said. "It needs to reach at least 180 degrees, and this would indicate that the bird is in fact done."

With stuffed turkeys, it's important to make sure both the bird and stuffing are done before serving, Archuleta said. MORE

After the thigh temperature reaches 180 degrees, take the turkey out of the oven and place the thermometer in the center of the stuffing for five minutes. The temperature should reach at least 165 degrees when stuffing is done, Archuleta said.

For more information about food safety at Thanksgiving, contact your county Extension office or call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555.