Thanksgiving Food Safety

Don’t Wash the Outside Surface of the Turkey

Washing the bird is a turkey preparation myth. Health experts recommend you skip this step unless you need to rinse blood or feathers from your poultry. When you place raw turkey under running water, you can potentially spread dangerous pathogens up to 3 feet away from the sink, says the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These pathogens can land all over your kitchen counter, the faucet and even you. If for any reason you wash the turkey with a dishcloth, treat it like toxic waste and put it directly into the wash. The FDA lists Campylobacter as one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the US. Many of these cases are the result of cross-contamination in the kitchen. The cooking process can easily kill these bacteria, but it’s up to you to clean and sanitize the kitchen counter and any equipment that touches raw meat. And always wash your hands after handling raw meats.

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Review Date: 
November 13, 2014

Last Updated:
November 13, 2014