We hate to burst your bubble, but your grandmother was wrong. The CDC says you definitely should not wash your turkey before putting it in the oven.

Washing Turkey Can Spread Germs to Other Foods

The Centers for Disease Control recommends against washing turkey before putting it in the oven because doing so can spread germs to other foods.

That recommendation has been in place since 2005, but a recent survey found that 78% of respondents reported washing or rinsing turkey before baking. That tradition has likely been passed down from previous generations and old family recipes but the practice can actually make you and your family sick.

According to the CDC, poultry juice can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.

The Raw Data on Washing Turkey

The CDC says that if you do was raw turkey, immediately clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding countertop areas. A study by the USDA found that one in seven people who cleaned the the sink after washing poultry still had germs in the sink.

So the takeaway here is wash your hands, not the turkey.

More Safe Turkey Tips:

The CDC says frozen turkey should be stored in the freezer until it's ready to be thawed. Turkey should be thawed in the refrigerator. Allow it to thaw for 24 hours for each four to five pounds of turkey.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw turkey. Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other items that have come in contact with raw turkey.

The CDC also recommends washing cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops after preparing raw turkey and before preparing other food items.


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