FOOD SAFETY: Thanksgiving is just a day away, and that that means — turkey! Did you know that 1 in 6 people in the United States will get sick from a foodborne illness this year?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year 17,000 residents in Eau Claire County will become sick from consuming unsafe food.

“Unsafe food handling and undercooked turkey can lead to serious foodborne illness,” says Iris Lang of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

Whether you have been cooking for years or this is your first time making a Thanksgiving meal, be sure to follow these food safety tips to prepare a delicious and safe meal this Thanksgiving:

• Wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.

• Wash food contact surfaces such as countertops, cutting boards and utensils between preparing each food item.

• Store all raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, so they don’t drip and contaminate other food.

• Use separate cutting boards and utensils when handling raw meat.

• Protect your cooked food by putting it on clean plates and surfaces.

Thaw your turkey safety using one of these three methods:

• Refrigeration method: Plan ahead and allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey when thawing in the fridge. Turkey thawed in the fridge can remain there for 1 to 2 days before cooking.

• Cold water method: Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound of turkey. Before starting, place the turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge the turkey in cold (70 degrees) tap water and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook thawed turkey immediately.

• Microwave method: Follow the microwave manufacturer’s instructions when defrosting a turkey. A turkey thawed in the microwave must be cooked immediately.