(HealthDay News) -- There are safe ways to thaw chicken, turkey and other poultry -- and there are not so safe ways to do so. Improper thawing can lead to food-borne illness.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers these suggestions:

  • Don't allow poultry to thaw at room temperature.
  • Allow the poultry to thaw in the refrigerator for one-to-two days.
  • You can thaw poultry in a sealed bag placed in cold water for two-to-three hours, changing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold.
  • Thawed poultry can be stored in the refrigerator for another one-to-two days.
  • You can defrost poultry in the microwave, but it should be cooked immediately afterward.
  • Always allow poultry to thaw before using a slow cooker.