What CDC says not to do before cooking your Thanksgiving turkey

Home for the Holidays

(WJW) — Thanksgiving week is upon us, and it’s time to dig out the old recipes once again.

However, before you carry on old traditions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you might want to re-think how you prep your turkey.

The CDC says not to wash or rinse raw turkey since its juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils and countertops.

A 2020 survey found that 78 percent of participants reported washing or rinsing turkey before cooking, the CDC said, but old recipes and family cooking traditions can make you and your family sick.

Here are a few other turkey-prepping reminders from the CDC:

  • Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40 °F and 140 °F.
  • When serving, use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • Refrigerate leftovers at 40 °F or colder as soon as possible. Reheat all leftovers to at least 165 °F before serving.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that if you’re serving a 20-plus-pound turkey, it’ll need days to thaw in the refrigerator – one day for each four to five pounds of weight.

According to the USDA, thawing the turkey in the fridge “is the safest method because the turkey will thaw at a consistent, safe temperature.”

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