Asked November 20, 2021, 7:04 PM EST
Multnomah County Oregon
Our food safety guidance for refrigerating whole, uncooked turkey and poultry is 1 to 2 days at 35 to 40 degrees F. It can be frozen for up to 1 year. If your refrigerator is very cool (32 to 33 degrees F) and the door hasn't been opened very often, you might squeeze 2 more days on that timeline. You might be able to detect signs of spoilage such as off-odors, slimy-ness, color changes, etc. now but you could already have some strong colonies of harmful bacteria growing. I don't recommend serving this turkey at your holiday meal as it could be infamously remembered. Young children (under 10), pregnant women, people with reduced immune systems and adults over 65 should not risk consuming it. What ever you decide to do, you will need to clean any surfaces (large pans, countertops, drips in the refrigerator) the turkey touches with hot soapy water, rinse and apply a sanitizing solution that can air dry for 15 minutes. Salmonella (one likely contaminant) can make pets sick too, so safe disposal is important, as well.
If you want you can also contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline:
If you have a question about meat, poultry, or egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).
The Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Check out the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
Send email questions to MPHotline@usda.gov.