NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Millions of people will be pulling up to the table for the big feast on Thursday and health experts have some advice for making sure that good food doesn’t go bad.

Not only is it important to wash your hands when preparing food, but also before you eat your Thanksgiving meals.

Health and Human Services recommends not to leave your turkey on the counter for thawing. Instead, place it in the fridge or soak it in cold water in the sink.

Using a food thermometer to make sure your turkey is cooked fully and properly will help prevent foodborne illnesses.

“You are not going to become sick every single time if you don’t follow every single one of these steps. But you open yourself up to more illness if you don’t practice proper food safety,” said Slate Boyer, an enteric and zoonotic epidemiologist at Health and Human Services.

Boyer says if you are experiencing dehydration after your meal, it could mean you have a foodborne illness, and they recommend you see a provider if that happens.

But if you follow these food safety tips you will lessen your risk of getting sick.