Skip to Content

Thanksgiving Turkey 101



It is important to plan your menu several weeks before the holiday to cut down anxiety and stress. If you are planning to cook a turkey, you need to take the following into consideration prior to Thanksgiving or another holiday gathering.

When to Buy Fresh or Frozen Turkey

There is no difference in quality between a fresh or frozen turkey, but it is important to keep a couple things in mind when determining to buy a fresh or frozen turkey.

  • Fresh Turkey: If you buy a fresh turkey, be sure to purchase it only 1-2 days before cooking. Do not buy a pre-stuffed fresh turkey. Learn more about the safety of pre-stuffed turkeys.
  • Frozen Turkey: You can buy a frozen turkey at any time as long as you have enough storage space in your freezer. Remember to cook a frozen turkey within 1 year for best quality. USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging.

What Size of Turkey to Buy

The general recommendation is to allow 1 pound of fresh or frozen turkey per person. Use the following chart as a helpful guide:

Type of TurkeyPounds to Buy
Whole bird1 pound per person
Boneless breast of turkey½ pound per person
Breast of turkey¾ pound per person
Prestuffed frozen turkey1¼ pounds per person – keep frozen until ready to cook

How to Thaw a Turkey

There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven. The preferred method is in the refrigerator, but it is important to plan ahead. The other methods are quicker if needed. It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey.

  • In the Refrigerator: Place the frozen turkey in the original wrapper on a pan or in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other food. Put in the refrigerator (40 °F or below) and allow approximately 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The following times are suggested thawing times in the refrigerator.
Size of Whole TurkeyNumber of Days
4 to 12 pounds1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds5 to 6 days
  • In Cold Water: If you forget to thaw the turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing, don’t panic. Be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water. Submerge the turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. A turkey thawed in cold water should be cooked immediately. The following times are suggested thawing times in cold water.
Size of Whole TurkeyNumber of Hours
4 to 12 pounds2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds10 to 12 hours
  • In the Microwave Oven: Microwave thawing is safe if the turkey is not too large. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the size of turkey that will fit into your microwave oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing. Cook immediately after thawing.

Return to top


There are a variety of ways to cook a turkey, but the most common is roasting. Follow the roasting instructions below or try an alternate way to cook a turkey. Did you know that you can cook a turkey the day before serving it?

Roasting a Turkey

Roasting a turkey can be intimidating. It’s the crown jewel of the Thanksgiving table, the star of the show—and yet so many things can go wrong, from dried out white meat to overcooked stuffing and under-seasoned gravy. Try these simple tips for Thanksgiving success, whether this is your first or twenty-first go around. Brining will help season the turkey and lock in its juices to ensure a moist bird. Allowing it to dry before rubbing it with softened butter will tighten the skin for extra crispness and color. Don’t baste the turkey. Basting can dry out the white meat by putting hot melted fats on the parts you are trying your hardest not to overcook. Follow my tried-and-true guide to cooking America’s favorite bird below for perfect turkey year after year.

Follow these steps to safely cook a turkey:

  • Set your oven temperature no lower than 325°F.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling the turkey.
  • Remove the giblet package before cooking.
  • Place your turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan (2 to 2½ inches deep).
    • Optional steps:
      • Tuck wing tips back under shoulders of bird (called “akimbo”).
      • Add one-half cup water to the bottom of the pan.
      • If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.
      • In the beginning, a tent of aluminum foil may be placed loosely over the breast of the turkey for the first 1 to 1½ hours, then removed for browning. Or, a tent of foil may be placed over the turkey after the turkey has reached the desired golden brown color.
  • For optimum safety, it is not recommended to stuff your turkey. Instead place stuffing in a casserole dish to cook. Use a food thermometer to check that the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F before serving.
    • If you choose to stuff your turkey, it is important to follow food safety guidelines in order to keep everyone safe. Keep wet and dry ingredients separate if you prepare ingredients ahead of time. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • Use the following timetables to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing. It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. If cooking from frozen, remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.
4 to 8 pounds (breast)1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds4½ to 5 hours
6 to 8 pounds (breast)2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds4¾ to 5¼ hours
  • A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
    • If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165°F for safety.
    • Learn how to choose a food thermometer.
  • For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily. Learn how to carve the turkey by following these instructions or watching this quick video.
  • If you stuffed your turkey, make sure to remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities. Use a food thermometer to check that the stuffing reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F before serving.

Return to top


When serving turkey, remember to:

  • Always wash your hands with water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Clean kitchen surfaces, dishes and utensils with hot water and soap.
  • Hot foods should be held at 140°F or warmer. Keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays.
  • Throw out any turkey left at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F.

Learn more about serving food safely from the USDA.

Return to top


If you have leftover turkey, make sure it is safe to eat by properly storing it.

  • Cut turkey into smaller pieces and refrigerate. Slice breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole.
  • Keep turkey in the refrigerator and eat within 3 to 4 days or freeze. Use frozen turkey within 2 to 6 months for best quality.

Learn more about keeping leftovers safe from the USDA.

Return to top


Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated. Here is how to reheat turkey:

  • In the Oven:
    • Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F.
    • Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
    • To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.
  • In the Microwave Oven:
    • Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time.
    • Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 °F.
    • Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.

Learn more about leftovers and food safety from the USDA.

Return to top


Starting a New Food Business

Why Food Business? Do you know that food is the only thing that brings people together on the dinner table almost every single day. For many food provides emotional support including the nourishment to the body. Providing food to the society is a noble cause and expanding availability of food through your business is simply bridging the society together for a common cause. Your food business is a place to share your favorite recipes, wonderful ideas, and a smart action on food-system innovation and entrepreneurship. Starting a successful food business is commercialization of your recipe – a journey to your food vision.

How can we help you: University of Georgia, Food Science and Technology Extension provides variety of services (both technical and educational) that are available to those hungry minds who decide to launch their dream food into a food business. A team of experts from the UGA Food Science and other programs (FoodPIC, Ag. Economics, SBDC and many more) provides on a regular basis a comprehensive assistance tailored to your specific food business needs. Assistance includes:

  • Product & Process Development
  • Label & Nutritional Facts Development
  • Information on Facility Licensing and Regulatory Compliance
  • Product Classification and Process Approvals
  • Resources for Co-packing facilities
  • Packaging design and Sensory Testing
  • Ingredient Technology and Functionality
  • Food Safety and Sanitation

Most services are provided on request it is not required for you to travel or visit to our location to receive technical and educational assistance. UGA Food Science Extension has been provides several technical and educational programs specifically designed to address food entrepreneur’s key issues on starting a new food business. Our services will maintain confidentiality on all steps of support to all.

Before You Start: Starting a new food business is not an easy task. To become a successful food entrepreneur is to transform yourself into an entrepreneur. Allow yourself to analyze IF you really want to become an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur creates an opportunity with an ability to get things done. Entrepreneurs are NOT always innovators. They see an opportunity and start to build a roadmap to the marketplace. Successful food entrepreneurs are goal oriented, blending their big-picture strategy with a laser focus on execution and results. You will have to develop some attributes of a self-starter and team player. Decision making is a process and slowly develop right attitude of independent decision making power (sometime quick, under pressure and stressful times).

Licensing Your Food Manufacturing Facility: Manufacturing (or processing) facilities and food warehouses are regulated by the Manufactured Food Section within the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Manufactured Food Division. The regulations for the State of Georgia have been adopted from the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as well as several portions of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21. The Georgia Food Act requires anyone who intends to operate a food sales establishment in the State of Georgia to obtain a license from the GDA. 

When you decide to start a food business in Georgia, there are several steps you will need to take before you’re ready to begin operation. The information on this webpage serves as an outline of the recommended steps to take before becoming licensed. Please review the sidebar of “Helpful Links” on this webpage to help you get started. The “Additional Resources” may also be useful to review.

Prior to Licensing:

Review the Basic Regulatory Requirements and Manufactured Food Regulations to understand the requirements of operating a food sales establishment in Georgia. Also review this Q&A for processing regulations for additional guidance.  

Contact your city/county Planning and Zoning and/or Business Development offices and work with them to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for your business. If you are using a private water source for your business operations, a water sample must be collected and tested annually by the GDA for coliforms and nitrates. For private sewage/septic you will need to contact the local health department to ensure the septic system can handle the output from your operations. 

Consider submitting a Business Plan early on to ensure your operation meets the basic regulatory requirements. Business plan reviews are required in order to determine whether the firm requires licensing from the GDA, if the firm’s operations are within the scope of the GDA’s regulations, and to ensure the facilities provided are adequate for the food that is being produced and/or sold on the premises. You will need to have your business plan reviewed prior to being licensed.

It is the firm’s responsibility to ensure the label(s) on all food product(s) are accurate and meet the regulatory requirements. Review the GDA’s Food Labeling brochure for advice on creating food labels, and refer to FDA’s Food Labeling Guide for additional guidance. A final, finished product label is required prior to a firm becoming licensed and operational.

Once you’re ready to be licensed, contact the GDA to schedule an inspection (remember, your business plan will already need to have been reviewed prior to this). At the time of the inspection, all additional paperwork must be completed and provided to the inspector. The packet of completed paperwork must contain copies of your: 

Manufacturing facilities are also required to register with the FDA. New businesses will have to click on “Login/Create Account” to begin. Be sure to save the information you are given at the end of your registration in a safe place. 

Special Processes

If you are producing a product that requires classification (i.e., acidified food or low-acid canned food), review the Guidelines for Food Processing SafetyDepending on the classification, you may need to take a course with a Better Processing Control School of your choice. The University of Georgia offers some in-person classes (view upcoming dates on the UGA Calendar of Events), the University of California offers an online course and there are other course offerings around the country throughout the year. Visit this FDA webpage to learn how to establish your product registration and process filing. Read this letter to AF/LACF processors for additional information.

If you are in need of a Wholesale Fish Dealer’s License, you will need to take a Seafood HACCP course. See our Seafood Safety webpage for more information and additional resources.

If you wish to wholesale/distribute juice products, you must meet the requirements in the 21 CFR 120 regulations. Please note: Unpasteurized juice cannot be sold through wholesale in Georgia. Find additional information and resources online via FDA Juice HACCPPenn State University ExtensionCornell University College of Agriculture and/or the University of Florida Citrus Extension.

Meat & Poultry: If you plan to make meat or poultry products you will need a license from the Division of Meat Inspection.  The Georgia Department of Agriculture – Division of Meat Inspection regulates and inspects operators who intend to:

Slaughter any livestock or poultry for resale, or who intend to provide a slaughtering service to individual livestock or bird owners. (Slaughtering livestock or poultry of one’s own raising for personal use is exempt from inspection.)

Process any meat or poultry products for wholesale which may also include certain activities associated with retail operations. Fully inspected facility responsibilities include: ante-mortem inspection, post-mortem inspection, sanitation inspection, humane handling verification, labeling verification, verification of the plant’s food safety plan (HACCP plan), residue sampling and product and environmental sampling for common foodborne pathogens.

Things that every entrepreneur should consider

  • Product and Process Development – How do you develop your recipe into a commercial market ready food product? What are important steps of making, packaging, and storage of your product?
  • Food Regulation – What regulatory standards you will need to follow and what agencies (GDA, FDA, USDA) govern your food business? How certain regulatory provisions of USDA/FDA will affect your business?
  • Food Packaging and Labeling – What are your food packaging options? What is the basis of selecting glass, plastic, or metal containers? What goes on my labels and is required by regulations on a food label?
  • Food Safety Issues – What are the basics of food safety?
  • Target Market – What are your target market options? What is market research and how do you use it?

Please do not hesitate to contact me or my team at or call us at 706-542-2574. Please visit our website for for technical services information.

Meating the plant-meal

The health conscious consumers have given a boost to vegetarianism and veganism and meat lovers are at the verse of adopting new source for their protein plant-meat. Yes, you are reading it correct, plant-meat. I am not sure who discovered the word “plant-meat” but in today’s world anything like fake-food, plant-meat, clean-meat, green-meat – all confusing words are making more headlines. People hear these words in social media and it goes viral and become a commercial buzz word for a new product.

The health-conscious consumers are on the lookout for nutritious and convenient food item. The vegetarianism is the key for the hunt of meals that resembles meat in sensory characteristics and not derived from animal sources. This is the point where meat analogue were developed and received its name “plant-meat. Plant-meat or meat analogue is the food which is structurally similar to meat however, differs in nutritional composition. A plant-meat is nothing but a meat analogue or a meat substitute, mock-meat, faux-meat or imitation-meat, and approximates aesthetic characteristics and sensory traits of specific types of meat.

It is true that today’s consumers are very much concerned about sustainable sources of food, climate changes, and our beloved planet. We all should do everything in our power to protect our environment so that next generation could enjoy same or better thing in future. We all know that killing animals for our food is not good. We all agree that feeding 10 billion people in the next 50 years is going to be a big challenge. But we should not agree when someone tries to twist meaning of meaningful words. Meat has always been understood as animal derived food. But somehow now, we seems to be comfortable with names like plant-burger, plant-sausage, plant-bacon, plant-hotdog, plant-jerky, and plant-meat.

What is more confusing is how switching your meal from animal derived food to plant foods is suddenly now going to address a BIG issues like human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. This sounds like all this while we have been eating only animal derived foods and there were no plant foods in our meal. Looks like we completely forgot spinach, broccoli, potato, and so many vegetables and fruits we have been eating since centuries. This is really a weird way to address big issues like human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. What is more complex and confusing is how eating broccoli can address animal welfare or climate change, and human health. As if we never ate animal source of food for health.

Texturized vegetable proteins can replace meat products at the same time as imparting an economical, useful and high-protein food aspect or may be fed on immediately as meat analogues. Meat analogues are successful due to their healthful image (LDL cholesterol free), meat-like texture, and low cost. Mycoprotein a meat analog is fungal in starting place and is used as an excessive-protein, low-fat, precise texture and health-promoting food element. All the knowledgeable evaluations stress the desirability to lessen the intake of animal products and growth consumption of fiber-wealthy carbohydrates, plant primarily based proteins and clean fruit and vegetables a good way to minimize risk of heart disease, mature onset diabetes, obesity and (possibly) a few cancers also.

Soya meat/Textured vegetable proteins (TVP) are generally, the ones fabricated vegetable products that can be used to update meat completely in a food serving. Although most of the vegetable proteins are of an inferior exceptional in comparison to the animal protein however legumes are precise supply of protein containing about 25-50% protein. Soya meat is extremely rich in protein with protein content material over 50%, but the protein content material drops while TVP is rehydrated. TVP is produced using hot extrusion of defatted soya proteins, resulting in expanded high protein chunks, nuggets, strips, grains and different shapes, in which the denaturated proteins provide TVP textures just like the meat. The fibrous, insoluble, porous TVP can absorb water. Textured soy proteins (TSP) are processed to impart a shape and look that resembles meat, seafood or poultry while hydrated. Soy protein produce has ended up increasingly more popular due to their low price, high nutritional value, and versatile useful properties.

Quorn–the mycoprotein- Quorn is the brand name for a line of foods made from mycoprotein (Fusarium venenatum). Quorn commodities takes the shape of faux hen patties, nuggets, and cutlets, in addition to imitation floor beef. It springs from a single-celled fungus grown in big fermentation vats which is processed and textured to provide a meal which may be effortlessly incorrect for meat. Generally, the filamentous fungus is high-quality chosen for the manufacturing of a meat substitute because it became believed that the mycelia could impart a fibrous texture, corresponding to that of meat, to the very last product. Quorn products consist of steaks, burgers, hen breasts as well as sliced meats and ready meals which  include lasagna.

Tofu- derived from soybeans is possibly the most widely identified meat alternative; it is a superb supply of protein, calcium, and iron. It is usually available in block form. ‘Tofu’ prepared by way of coagulation of soymilk by CaSO4 or MgCl2 consists of about 8% of general proteins, 4-5% lipids and approximately 2% of carbohydrates on fresh weight basis.

Tempeh is made from soybeans which have been soaked and cooked to melt them. Like bitter dough bread, tempeh calls for a starter culture/inoculum (Rhizopus oligoporus), that’s introduced to the cooked beans. This combination is left for twenty-four hours, and the result is a corporation textured product with a incredibly nutty flavor and a texture much like a chewy mushroom. Tempeh is commercially to be had in the strip and cake form and is used in comparable culinary contexts as tofu because it has a denser, “meatier” texture.

Genetic engineering can beautify the nice of plant primarily based food products through the silencing of genes. New plant primarily based meat analogues ought to taste, feel and odor better than or at the least as top as animal meat in keeping with the perceptions of the majority of customers. It is very probable that flavor (umami flavor related to meat) and texture (fibre like as in meat products) are the maximum crucial keys to success, and at the identical time, the biggest challenges for the researchers.

Starting a New Food Business Workshop 2019

Starting a New Food Business hosted its 10th annual workshop September 3-4, 2019 in Marietta, GA. This workshop addressed many concerns of the Georgia’s food entrepreneurs who are just getting started. Workshop participants’ products ranged from pepper jams, roasted pecans, low sugar cakes to delicious salsa. In this two-day workshop, participants learned the best practices for developing their products, branding and marketing strategies,  and including their potential customer demographics.

The first day of the workshop hosted presenters from the UGA Extension faculty and Athens’ Small Business Development Center. Dr. Anand Mohan, Associate Professor and course coordinator, started the course with his presentation, “Am I a Food Entrepreneur”. This presentation listed the characteristics of a food entrepreneur and explained the participants “what is your why” for starting a new food business. Attendees also learned that failure could serve as a teachable option to learn how to better manage your business.

Drs. Koushik Adhikari and Kevin Mis Solval, are food science extension specialist from the UGA Griffin Campus. They presented “Product Development and Acceptability” talk with a hands-on group project.

Participants were grouped into 5 sub-groups and tasked to develop 3 different products: BBQ Sauce, Fresh Salsa, and Jam. Their task was to create a plan to develop their product. One of the group’s biggest takeaways was to advertise their food to companies outside of their food category. Dr. Adhikari gave the example of a prominent drink brand using tailgating commercials to promote not only their drink but also BBQ sauces on meat and salsa and chips. These pairings can be very beneficial for both businesses.

The third session of the day was comprised by Dr. Ben Campbell of UGA’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and David Stob of Athens’ Small Business Development Center. Dr. Campbell’s pricing formula gave participants a new perspective on how to price their products. The method of having all of the components balancing each other out would bring great profit, however, if the product costs less than the amount of money to make it, the product will fail and the producer will not make any profit. Mr. David Stob gave participants ten fundamental steps of creating a business plan.

To end the day, our Program Coordinator of Technical Services, Derell Hardman, facilitated a microbiology lab. This was a hands-on demonstration of employee personal hygiene experiment. Participants learned steps to clean, wash, and sanitize their hands before touching and handling food products and ingredients. For this hands-on demonstration, attendees were given three petri dishes. The first petri contained an imprint of fingers that had not been washed. Next, participants washed their hands and place their fingers on the second dish. Lastly, participants wash their hands and sanitize their hands and imprinted on the third petri dishes. Attendees were surprised to watch bacteria growing on imprinted microbiological plates  with their un-washed and washed hands.  Although they do not know the results, the knowledge gained has encouraged them to wash their hands and sanitize before they enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner sponsored by Chef Jesse Spikes of Jesse James Outlaw BBQ. He served his infamous ribs, chicken wings, cole-slaw, and potato salad.

Day two started with Mr. Derell Hardman’s presentation on “Food Quality and Shelf Life”. This presentation showed the importance of getting a shelf life test for their product so that microorganisms do not disrupt the quality of the food. Mr. Hardman emphasized to attendees that an analysis as simple as a shelf-life test can determine when a product will lose it’s quality and compositional integrity.

Our next speaker, Linda Mahan and Jeannie Powell, talked about “Getting Your Product into the Marketplace”. Both Mahan and Powell emphasized the importance of labeling products correctly while also being eye-catching. The pair additionally introduced many to the program “Georgia Grown” which was started by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Mahan and Powell explained the requirements to be an official Georgia Grown member which would allow the logo to be placed on their products.

Next on the agenda was Natalie Adan from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She assured the attendees that the GDA is in place to help them, not to be their enemy. Adan urges them to use the GDA as a resource to stay in compliance with their regulations. She also broke down the different departments of the agency and offered insight on obtaining a cottage license for our attendees who produce non-potentially hazard products.

Dr. Kent Wolfe of UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development presented demographics and statistical figures of consumer preferences on food products in “Knowing Your Customers”. This presentation of comparing millennials and baby boomers allowed participants to understand who would be the main consumer of their products. “An Overview of Intellectual Property” by lawyer Matthew Hoots detailed the twelve trademark regulations that attendees should be aware of before they try to trademark their band. Mr. Hoots was able to show real life examples from his clients as well as other known brands. Lastly, the workshop ended with Julie Farr of Shared Kitchens, Doug Marranci of PrepAtlanta, and Lauren Hatcher with UGA Extension, in the roundtable discussion. They were able to answer questions about the benefits of using a shared kitchen and co-packer. Hatcher also offered advice for using UGA’s FoodPic lab for consumer testing.

The workshop ended with “Taste of Georgia” where participants get to try each other’s products and vote for a People’s Choice. This year, we had three first place winners: Celebrity Fit Lifestyle, Chef J, Nonna’s Nuts, and Old Mountain Top Farms. Our next Starting a New Food Business Workshop will be held April 7-8, 2020.

View workshop pictures here:  Workshop Pictures

Food Science and Technology Extension express their sincere thanks to Cobb County FACS Agent Zohregul Soltanmammedova (Zoe), Jeff Miller (Extension Coordinator – Northwest District), Kisha Faulk (FACS Program Development Coordinator, Northwest District) Asha Mathis and Derell Hardman for their valuable contributions.

Bison meat and E. coli outbreak

Ground bison meat has been linked to an E. coli outbreak in seven states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-one people in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have been infected with the E. coli O103 and O121 strains. CDC and FDA has launched an investigation into cases of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O103 and O121 strains.

According to CDC, 21 people infected with the outbreak strains and eight of those people were hospitalized. So far, no deaths or cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, have been reported.  HUS is a disease condition that can occur when blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged and cause clots to form in the vessels. The clots in the kidneys can lead to kidney failure, which could be life-threatening. Some of the initial stage sign and symptoms  of HUS may include:

  • Diarrhea, which is often bloody
  • Abdominal pain, cramping or bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Food contaminated with E. coli O121 and O103 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die. If you known someone who may be experiencing similar, please ask them to talk to their healthcare provider, write down what they ate in the week prior to becoming sick, report their illness to the health department and assist public health investigators by answering questions about their illness.

FDA has posted the details of Food Recall Warning on their website. The FDA also posted photos of the bar code labels on its website. They show the products, packaged between February 22 and April 30, under the names of Fossil Farms, Northfork Canadian Bison Ranch and SayersBrook Bison Ranch. Please visit:

For your information: FDA regulates bison meat because the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) has NOT been assigned authority to inspect bison meat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

What you should do?

If you are a food service and/or food processing operation and believe that you have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated meat products in your facility, you should:

  • Contact your local health department and let them know regarding your possible exposure to a pathogen.
  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and counter-tops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods;
  • Sanitize everything all contaminated all food contact surfaces with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.


PHOTO: Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. of St. Leonard, Quebec is recalling its Bison Burgers & Bison Ground because they have the potential to be contaminated with E. coli: O121 and O103.


Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli 103 Infections

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed 17 cases of E. coli O103 infection in Georgia. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the number of cases is expected to increase. These illnesses are part of a multistate E. coli outbreak sickening nearly 100 people in five states. There are no reports of death in the outbreak.

A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of these infections.

People usually get sick from E. coli O103 an average of 3-4 days after swallowing the germ. Symptoms of E. coli O103 include diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing complications from E. coli infection.

CDC, several states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 infections. This investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections.

Highlights of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) O103 Outbreak:

Ways to prevent E. coli infection include:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats properly.
  • Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Keep raw meats separate from foods that won’t be cooked before eating.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with soap after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and other dairy products, and unpasteurized juice.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

For more information about E. coli O103 log on to

For more information about safe food handling and preparation log on to

Hygienic Zoning for Sanitation Preventive Control

Zoning or segregation of food processing areas presents a unique environment for the food processors to identify area of potentially risk for microbiological cross-contamination. The facility design outlines offers risk-based hazard assessment to determine potential sources of contamination, traffic patterns, employee hygienic practices, and suitable preventive control measure for these areas.
Read More