Thanksgiving Tip: Don’t Wash Your Turkey; It Splashes Bacteria, Cross-Contaminates Other Food


Did you know you shouldn’t rinse or wash your Thanksgiving Turkey (or any turkey)?

According to the USDA, rinsing a turkey will not get rid of unwanted bacteria, and may actually increase the chance of spreading bacteria from the bird to the countertop or other surfaces.

Water that splashes from the bird onto countertops or other surfaces can spread the bacteria, which increases the risk of cross contamination. The risk is especially high for cross-contamination of foods you don’t cook, such as salads, raw carrots, cranberries, etc.

The best way to eliminate bacteria from turkey is to cook it, and wash your hands and surfaces that have contacted the raw turkey. The USDA recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Also, if any countertop, surface or utensil in your kitchen comes in contact with raw poultry, wash with hot, soapy water.

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