Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey can be risky if you don't know what you're doing. 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is encouraging people to take the time to make sure they are following the proper steps. 

They have provided the following tips to make sure your Thanksgiving feast stays disease-free. 


  • It's best to thaw your turkey in the fridge. You can also thaw your turkey in a sink under cold water.
  • Do not thaw at room temperature. It could result in the growth of dangerous bacteria. 
  • Cook your turkey immediately after it has thawed. 


  • Do not handle food or prepare food for others if you are feeling sick. 
  • Always wash your hands before and after preparing food.
  • Use separate cutting boards to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Prepare ready-to-eat foods first, such as salad.
  • Wash counters with soapy water then sanitize after handling raw meat.


  • Turkey must be cooked until the meat reaches a minimum internal temperature of 82 C or 180 F. 
  • Use a meat thermometer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and/or breast, ensuring it is not touching any bones. 
  • Never slow-cook a turkey. 
  • Prepare and cook stuffing separately from the turkey. 

They also note that leftovers should be eaten within three days of being cooked.