Wednesday, November 23, 2011

North Carolina Equine Activity Liability Statute

 For many North Carolinians horseback riding and equestrian events are relaxing and fun.  The last thing anyone wants to think about is getting injured.  However, accidents do happen and the best way to be prepared is to know the law and how it is going to affect you.  The North Carolina Equine Activity Liability Statute can be found online at

All horse and equine owners should read and be familiar with this law.  Just because you are unaware of your legal responsibilities, does not excuse you from them.  According to the law “equine” includes horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and hinnies. Be aware that the statute protects but only to a limit.  It covers injuries categorized as “inherent” risks but not those caused by negligent acts.  Inherent risks are those that are an “integral part of engaging in an equine activity”.  They consist of damage or death caused by unruly animal behavior and the reaction of the animal to its surroundings specifically sounds, movements, unfamiliar objects, people and other animals but does not cover accidents involving motor vehicles.  Just because the injury falls into one of the categories above does not mean that an owner will not have a lawsuit filed against them by the injured.

All equine owners should always have appropriate insurance coverage.  Talk to your local insurance agent to make sure that your current policy covers injuries sustained by your animals.  If not, you may seriously think about upgrading it.  The law requires a specific warning be posted “in a clearly visible location” anytime an equine professional or equine activity sponsor holds an event.  Signs can be purchased through the NC Horse Council online (

For more information on the statute, please feel free to contact the NC Horse Council in Raleigh by calling 1-800-529-9206.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Food Safety Tips for Preparing a Holiday Turkey

Safe Thawing
The USDA recommends three ways to defrost turkeys: in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the

Never defrost a turkey on the counter!!!

Refrigerator Thawing
Plan ahead for slow thawing in the refrigerator. For every 5 pounds of turkey allow approximately 24

hours of thawing time in a refrigerator set at 40°F. After thawing, keep turkey refrigerated for only 1-2

days, or use the following chart to help you countdown to the holiday.

Size of Turkey Thawing Time in the

8 to 12 pounds 1 to 2 days

12 to 16 pounds 2 to 3 days

16 to 20 pounds 3 to 4 days

20 to 24 pounds 4 to 5 days
Cold Water Thawing
If you forget to thaw the turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing, don’t panic. You can

submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Allow

about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Change the water every 30 minutes to be sure

it stays cold. The following times are suggested for thawing a turkey in water.

Size of Turkey Hours to Defrost
8 to 12 pounds 4 to 6 hours

12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours

16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours

20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours
Turkeys thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately.
Microwave Thawing
Follow the oven manufacturer’s instructions when thawing a turkey in the

microwave. Check the instructions for the size turkey that will fit in your

oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing. Plan

to cook immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may

begin to cook during microwave thawing.

Safe Cooking
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F. Preheating the oven is not necessary.
Place turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey and a meat thermometer.

For food safety and uniform doneness of the turkey, cook stuffing separately in a casserole dish. Use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the stuffing has reached 165°F in the middle, thickest part.

Check the temperature in several locations, being sure to include the wing joint. Whole poultry is safe when the meat is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. All turkey meat including any that remains pink is safe to eat as long as all parts reach at least 165°F. 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, it is still best to cook turkey to higher temperatures such as 180° F to remove pink appearance and rubbery texture.

If the turkey has a “pop up” temperature indicator, it is also recommended that a food thermometer be used to test in several places, including the innermost part of the thigh.

Many factors can affect the roasting time of a whole turkey:

• A frozen or partially frozen turkey takes longer to cook than a completely thawed turkey.

• A turkey will cook faster in a dark roasting pan.

• The use of a foil tent for the entire cooking time can slow cooking.

• Putting a lid on the roasting pan speeds up cooking.

• An oven-cooking bag will shorten cooking time.

Judging cooking time for your turkey will be easier if the following chart is used. The times listed are for a fresh or thawed turkey in an oven at 325°F. These times are approximate; the only way to determine doneness is by using a thermometer.
Size of Turkey

Estimated Cooking Time
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3.5 hours

12 to 14 pounds 3.5 to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4.25 hours

18 to 20 pounds 4.25 to 4.75 hours

20 to 24 pounds 4.75 to 5.25 hours

When turkey is removed from the oven, let stand 20 minutes.
Storing Leftovers

Cut the turkey into small pieces; refrigerate turkey and stuffing separately in shallow containers within

2 hours of cooking.

Use left over turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days; gravy within 1-2 days; or

freeze these foods.

It is safe to refreeze leftover turkey and trimmings – even if you purchased

them frozen. Wrap tightly for best quality.
Reheat leftovers thoroughly to a temperature of 165°F or until hot and steaming.