The CDC is recommending that everyone who plans on cooking turkey for Thanksgiving, to be aware that washing turkey could be harmful for your family and friend who ingest it. According to the CDC, it is possible for turkey and its juice to contain germs that can make you and your family sick. Turkey could contain bacteria such as Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, and others. The CDC released a statement in regards to washing Turkey saying, “Federal food safety advice has recommended against washing turkey or chicken since 2005, but some habits are hard to break. A 2020 survey* found that 78% of participants reported washing or rinsing turkey before cooking. Old recipes and family cooking traditions may tempt you to keep this practice going, but it can make you and your family sick. Poultry juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.”
The CDC and Click On 4 Detroit list 6 safety tips for cooking and storing turkey.
1. Store turkey properly:
Raw frozen turkey should be kept in the freezer until it is time to thaw. Check to make sure your freezer is at 0˚F or below. Fresh raw turkey however, can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 days before cooking.
2. Thaw Turkey Safely:
- Thaw your turkey in cold water.
- Allow about 24 hours of thawing for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
- Keep your turkey in its original wrapping and place it in a container before putting it in the refrigerator.
- A turkey thawed in the refrigerator can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days before cooking.
3. Cook Stuffing Thoroughly:
Using a casserole dish makes it easier to ensure that stuffing is thoroughly cooked. The stuffing should be put in the turkey just before it is cooked if you intend to cook it in the turkey.
4. Cook Turkey Thoroughly:
Ensure that your oven is at least 325°F before roasting a turkey. Make sure the turkey has reached the safe minimum cooking temperature of 165°F by using a food thermometer.
5. Take Care of Leftovers : Please remember to refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking.
6. Handle Turkey Correctly to Prevent the Spread of Germs:
Anything touched by raw turkey or its juice can become contaminated. Avoid spreading harmful germs to your food, family, and friends by handling your turkey correctly.
Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after handling turkey.
Use a separate cutting board for uncooked turkey.
Don’t place cooked food/fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surface that held uncooked turkey.