Health Department Turkey Tips Q&A: 'I Just Cooked The Giblets Bag! Is It Safe To Eat?'

Health Department Turkey Tips Q&A: ‘I Just Cooked The Giblets Bag! Is It Safe To Eat?’

The Kane County Health Department is offering some good advice about how to keep your holiday guests safe and happy this holiday season.

Below are links to some outstanding safety tips as well as some pretty darned interesting scenarios that might make you feel better about your efforts. For more information, visit this page of the Kane County Health Department website.

Turkey, Health DepartmentQ. “I just discovered I cooked the turkey with the package of giblets still inside the cavity. Are the turkey and giblets safe to eat?”

A. If giblets were left in the cavity during roasting, even though this is not recommended, the turkey and giblets are probably safe to use. However, if the packaging containing the giblets has changed shape or melted in any way during cooking, do not use the giblets or the turkey because harmful chemicals from the packaging may have penetrated the surrounding meat.

Q. “ What should I do? I put a 20-pound turkey in a 200 °F oven before I went to bed last night, and the pop-up timer says it’s already done at 7:30 this morning. We won’t be eating until 3 p.m.”

A. You have two problems here. First, overnight cooking of meat at a low temperature isn’t a safe method so we don’t recommend eating this turkey. It’s not safe to cook any meat or poultry in an oven set lower than 325 °F. At 200 °F, meat remains in the “Danger Zone” too long (between 40 and 140 °F) where bacteria multiply rapidly and can form toxins.

Secondly, holding a safely cooked turkey at a safe internal temperature of 140 °F or above for this amount of time can dry it out and affect the quality. If a safely cooked turkey must be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for optimal safety and quality it should be carved and refrigerated in covered shallow containers and served cold or reheated to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.

One More Safety Reminder

Every year, pretty much without exception, the post-Thanksgiving police blotters of communities throughout Kane County are littered with items about the local police or fire department called to someone’s home for a fire involving turkey fryers. Don’t let that happen to you.

Click on this link on the Kane County Health Department website to learn more about alternate cooking methods, and check out this link on the Public Broadcasting System website for Five Safety Tips for Deep Frying Turkey.

Safety Tips for Cooking Turkey & Holiday Meats

Countdown to the Holiday
English     Spanish

Hotline Answers to Food Safety Questions
English     Spanish

Turkey Basics: Safe Thawing
English     Spanish

Turkey Basics: Safe Cooking
English     Spanish

Turkey Basics: Stuffing
English     Spanish

Turkey Basics: Handling Cooked Dinners
English     Spanish

Alternate Ways to Cook Turkey
  English     Spanish

Roasting other Holiday Meats
English     Spanish


Safety Guidelines for restaurant food leftovers/doggie bags:

  • Refrigerate restaurant leftovers within two hours of eating the meal
  • Label and date restaurant food and eat with 3-4 days
  • Make sure your refrigerator maintains a temperature of 40°F or below.
  • Reheat restaurant leftovers to 165°F
  • Use a metal stem thermometer to ensure the food is reheated to the proper temperature.