Don't Wash Your Turkey

Stop the potential spread of bacteria

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and that means many of us will spend hours preparing a turkey dinner. Home cooks often give their bird a wash or rinse in the sink before it hits the oven. And while that might sound like a good idea, you may be doing more harm than good.

The truth is, rinsing won’t make your poultry safer. Rinsing raw poultry doesn’t remove salmonella or other harmful bacteria that can cause illness, only cooking it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees can do that. What rinsing will do is increase the chances of cross-contamination in your kitchen.

Consumer Reports recommends a way to safely handle raw poultry.

First, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. (Do that every time you touch raw poultry.)

If you want to remove that raw “slime,” pat the bird with a damp paper towel, discard the paper towel, and wash your hands immediately.

And, be careful with utensils and cookware. If they touch raw poultry, they should be sanitized before touching any other foods.

Remember, sanitizing your cooking area is important, too. Even when you don’t wash your poultry, it’s a good idea to scrub your entire work area when you’re done cooking.

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