Why You Should *Never* Rinse Your Thanksgiving Turkey

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Turkey beside room sink.

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Good kitchen hygiene is ever important. You should lavation your hands earlier you commencement cooking and aft handling earthy meat. But washing your turkey connected Thanksgiving morning? Not truthful fast. You tin really origin much harm than good. Here’s why you should ne'er rinse your turkey — and really to safely hole your earthy bird.

The Problem pinch Washing Your Turkey

“There is nary request to lavation your turkey,” says Kali Kneil, professor of microbial nutrient information astatine nan University of Delaware. “You consequence splashing germs connected different surfaces successful nan room aliases spreading germs astir onto your countertops,” Kneil says. According to nan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. national agencies person recommended not washing earthy turkey for astir 20 years, and yet it’s still an incredibly communal practice.

A turkey bath tin besides lead to cross-contamination pinch different foods. And earthy turkey has nary shortage of worldly you want to avoid: According to nan CDC, it tin incorporate Salmonella, Campylobacter, and different germs and germs, which could origin diarrhea, vomiting, and more. 

How to Practice Safe Turkey Prep

Thankfully, observant turkey preparations tin thief forestall unwanted problems from cramping your Thanksgiving style. First, ever lavation your hands earlier and aft handling earthy turkey — nan CDC recommends astatine slightest a 20-second scrub. 

You besides request to decently shop your vertebrate earlier nan large day. “Keep a caller turkey successful nan refrigerator until you are fresh to navigator it,” Kneil says. And support a stiff turkey successful your freezer until you’re fresh to thaw it, according to nan CDC. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends thawing a turkey successful nan refrigerator, arsenic this situation provides a consistent, safe temperature,” Kneil says. She adds that it takes a agelong clip to thaw — arsenic in, aggregate days — truthful you should hole accordingly.

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If you didn’t put your main people successful nan fridge successful time, nan CDC says you tin thaw turkey successful nan sink pinch acold h2o successful a leak-proof integrative bag. The nationalist wellness agency stresses that you must instantly navigator a turkey thawed successful acold water. “Carefully region nan turkey from nan packaging and dispose of nan packaging into nan trash,” says Kniel. Then comes nan cleanup! The USDA recommends washing immoderate surfaces that travel successful interaction pinch earthy turkey aliases its juices, for illustration your sink and countertops, pinch “hot, soapy water.” The national agency besides says you tin sanitize surfaces “with a solution of 1 tablespoonful of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.” 

Other wellness and information tidbits to retrieve arsenic you navigator see nan CDC’s rec to usage 1 cutting committee for earthy turkey and abstracted boards for different food. The agency besides stresses instantly utilizing hot, soapy h2o to lavation each cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces touched by earthy turkey. 

Finally, guarantee your turkey is afloat cooked earlier you excavation successful — your thermometer should registry a somesthesia of 165°F astatine “the innermost portion of nan thigh and nan thickest portion of nan breast,” Kniel says.