Don’t Rinse Your Turkey, You Turkey

Don’t Rinse Your Turkey, You Turkey

Raw poultry is kind of icky, but rinsing it won’t make it any less so. Though giving your holiday turkey a little wash is the first step to many recipes, doing so can actually cause more harm than good.

According to the New York Times, it doesn’t kill any pathogens, but it does spread it around your kitchen, tools, and life, through splashing. What actually kills bacteria? Cooking your food:

Washing chicken won’t remove many bacteria, said Benjamin Chapman, an associate professor in North Carolina State University’s agricultural and human sciences department. But it can spread germs to hands, work surfaces, clothing and nearby utensils or food, a process called cross contamination. “That washing process can really only increase risk,” he said. “All I really can do is control it through cooking.”

The NYT also points out that a lot of recipes (including some of mine, probably) recommend cooking temperatures lower than what is considered “safe” by the FDA, so check this guide if you’re concerned. Besides cooking your meat, your best defence is keeping your raw bird as far away from fresh produce as possible, and washing your hands, cutting boards, and surfaces in hot soap water (for at least 20 seconds) after the prep is done. Just don’t bother giving the bird a bath; bird baths are for the yard.

Don’t Rinse the Bird. A Myth to Dispel Before the Holidays. | New York Times

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