Steps to Keep Your Turkey Safe

Steps to Keep Your Turkey Safe




Your mission: Juggle the yams, stuffing, potatoes, eggs, pie, bread, cranberries, string beans, crunchy things that go on top of the beans, butter...and a hundred other things!


And then there's the main event -- the turkey. How you handle that bird in your kitchen might be the most important part of the big day.

And I'm not talking about how you cook it, either. But whether you wash it or not.

While it seems like the right thing to do, both a U.S. and U.K. group are warning about it. The USDA has been saying for years that washing poultry is a risk, and it's not because of salmonella, but a bacteria called "campylobacter."

Because if your turkey is contaminated with campylobacter, a single drop of juice splashing on the counter tops, cutting board or even your hands or clothing is enough to make you sick.

The CDC says that about 50 percent of raw poultry is contaminated with the bacteria. And it's the most common form of food poisoning in the U.S. Over 2 million people get sick from this bacteria every year!

Even though experts have been warning for some time about this risk, many cooks still believe that washing their turkey is mandatory.

If you're one of them, here are some ways to cut your risk of contamination:



  • ·         Put the turkey in the middle of the sink and turn the water on low, to prevent as much splashing as possible.


  • ·         Let the turkey drain for a bit in the sink so you're dripping as little water as possible.


  • ·         After handling the bird, make sure you wash your hands well with hot soapy water.


  • ·         Clean the sink and surrounding counter tops with hot soapy water and use paper towel, not a sponge.


You also need to watch out for anything that raw bird might have touched, including utensils and cutting boards and clean them really well, too. And be sure to move and cover any other food -- especially something that's going to be served raw -- well away from the sink area.

So if you do give that turkey a rinse in the kitchen sink, do it carefully.


And have a happy Thanksgiving! Douglas