Let’s Talk Turkey – with Uncle Sam


By Steve Buckstein

On this Thanksgiving I have to give credit to The Blaze for alerting me to a serious issue of public concern. Apparently the U.S. government, in its collective wisdom, believes that Americans need its help to purchase, prepare, and eat the traditional holiday turkey.

The United States Department of Agriculture is devoting resources (read, your tax dollars and/or some of the nearly $17 trillion federal debt) to maintain a website called Let’s Talk Turkey—A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey. On it, you’ll find some helpful, and some less than helpful, tips that apparently your government doesn’t think you can find on any of the thousands of sites a quick Google search on turkey preparation will reveal before your eyes.

Sites hosted privately by the likes of Safeway, Butterball, and even the Mayo Clinic apparently aren’t sufficient to give you the reliable information you need on this significant national holiday.

But wait, there’s more. If you need more personal turkey help, there’s a federal Meat and Poultry Hotline you can call and speak with a live government employee. Just think of the last time you sought “help” with your taxes from an IRS phone line. Of course, the government turkey hotline is only live from 5am to 11am Pacific time on Thanksgiving Day. After 11am you may have to rely on that for-profit turkey purveyor Butterball, which answers its Turkey Talk-Line until 4pm and even answers the phone starting at 4am on Thanksgiving.

Please understand I’m not suggesting that you use any but an official government, taxpayer/debt funded website or phone line to get your turkey tip information. But if you’re going to ignore my advice and feel particularly rebellious this Thanksgiving, you might want to watch this State Farm video featuring “Duck Dynasty” turkey safety tips.

No matter how you glean your turkey safety and cooking tips, let’s be careful out there. After all, who could know more about turkeys than the federal government?

Steve Buckstein is Founder, Senior Policy Analyst, and Satirist-in-Residence at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.