Why Some Turkeys Come with Two Necks

What does it mean if your Thanksgiving turkey comes with two necks? Food safety specialist Kathy Bernard, of the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, actually was asked that question. And it turns out, there's a simple answer.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

Time now for another turkey tale.

(Soundbite of phone ringing)

Ms. KATHY BERNARD (Hotline Operator): Good morning, Meat and Poultry Hotline. How may I help you?

Unidentified Woman: I need a question answered, please.

Ms. BERNARD: Yes.

Unidentified Woman: I would...

Ms. BERNARD: I'm Kathy Bernard, and I've been here on the hotline 15 and a half years. I had one - it was yesterday - and the woman, she had a bird that had two necks in it, and she called very disturbed, thinking that the bird was actually a two-necked bird when it was alive. But you know, this can happen because, you know, the giblets and the necks aren't necessarily with the turkey that they're from. The processing plants try to get one per bird, but sometimes two necks just got put in the bird. That's all. But she was, oh, my gosh, you know, I think this bird may have had two heads. But that's not the case.

ELLIOTT: The staffers at the Turkey Hotline tell us they have to take every question seriously. It's a matter of food safety.

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