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Will There be Enough Turkey for the Thanksgiving Feast?

Is there a turkey shortage as we approach Thanksgiving?

“I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about whether or not you can carve your turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s going to be there. It may be smaller, but it’ll be there,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. He recently told reporters that there will be turkey on the table this Thanksgiving despite avian influenza resulting in the death of nearly 8 million turkeys.

“In terms of people being able to get a Thanksgiving turkey, they’re going to be able to get a Thanksgiving turkey. Now, whether they can get a 20-pound turkey, that might be a challenge based on location because many of the turkeys that are being raised right now for Thanksgiving may not have the full amount of time to get to 20 pounds.”

That turkey will also cost you more this year. USDA data shows turkey prices are up around 28% compared to this time a year ago with the price of an 8 to 16-pound turkey rising to $1.47 a pound, up from $1.15 last year.

So, how big of a turkey do you need for your table?

“We generally recommend to follow about a one-pound per person rule and then about a pound and a half if you want leftovers,” explains Meredith Carothers from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.

She recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator so that the bird’s temperature stays below 40 degrees, the temperature at which bacteria can multiply.

Thawing in the refrigerator will take some time, about 24 hours for each 5 pounds of turkey, and Carothers says, “it is safe to keep that turkey in the refrigerator one to two days after it is fully thawed.”

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 8am-2pm Eastern Time at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) or by visiting ask.usda.gov.

Source: USDA Radio News