Thanksgiving Safety Tip: Don’t Rinse That Turkey!

November 25, 2015

The instructions for many Thanksgiving turkey recipes say to “rinse turkey thoroughly.” However, this is a huge food safety problem, according to Christine Bruhn, PhD, CFS, food science professor from University of California-Davis who is an Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) member.

Why? The water splashing distributes any salmonella up to two feet around a sink and therefore increases potential for cross contamination, Bruhn says.

Bruhn says if the turkey is cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the bacteria won’t be an issue.

If you feel compelled to rinse, Bruhn recommends using a low water flow to avoid splashing followed by a thorough cleaning of the sink, counter and surrounding areas with detergent followed by a sanitizing solution.

She also advises preparing the stuffing outside the bird as it takes too long to get hot when cooked inside which allows bacteria to grow.

As for brining, Bruhn says to think of brining as a marinade. There is no need to rinse afterwards. Just place in a baking pan and proceed with the recipe.

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