Thanksgiving Pathogen Risk

Which of the following has the USDA linked to the spread of dangerous bacteria?

  1. Defrosting Turkey In Water
  2. Cooking Turkey Until Juice Runs Clear
  3. Washing Turkey Before Cooking
  4. Eating Leftovers After 2 Days

Answer: Washing Turkey Before Cooking

According to this article by the USDA:

68 percent of the public washes whole turkey before cooking it. USDA does not recommend washing raw meat and poultry before cooking. Washing raw meat and poultry can cause bacteria to spread up to three feet away. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, frying or grilling) meat and poultry to the right temperature kills any bacteria that may be present, so washing meat and poultry is not necessary.

Other USDA recommendations to avoid food-borne illness this Thanksgiving include:

– The safest method for defrosting a frozen turkey is defrosting in the refrigerator
– Keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from foods that won’t be cooked
– Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Internal temperature should be confirmed with a meat thermometer, color is not a reliable indicator
– Do not store food outside, food must be kept under 40 degrees at all times
– Consume leftovers within 4 days

For more details and additional USDA recommendations visit the full article.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving!

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