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(CNN) -- From cornbread and sausage to oysters, onions and sage, everyone's got a favorite stuffing recipe.
And despite the fact that actually stuffing the holiday turkey carries a risk of foodborne illness, cooks everywhere are going to be doing it.
"However, with careful preparation and the use of a meat thermometer to ensure that safe temperatures are reached, consumers can safely enjoy the traditional holiday stuffing inside OR outside the bird," according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline.
Checking stuffing temperature with a thermometer is critical. That's because even if the turkey has reached the proper internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius), the stuffing may still be too cool. The center of the stuffing should reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). If all parts of the stuffing get at least that hot, bacteria that can cause foodborne illness are killed.
If turkey temperatures indicate doneness but the stuffing is still too cool, roasting should continue until the stuffing reaches the appropriate temperature.
Once the turkey and stuffing have reached the proper temperature, remove the bird from the oven and allow it to stand for 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.
"If you are not prepared to use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the stuffing in the bird, then the stuffing should be cooked outside the turkey," advises the USDA.
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