Why you should NEVER wash your raw turkey before putting it in the oven
- Many Australian families will be celebrating Christmas dinner with a turkey
- It’s generally accepted you should wash poultry before you put it in the oven
- But, it’s been revealed doing so can lead to the spread of two types of bacteria
Many Australian families will be celebrating Christmas the traditional way – serving up family and friends a delicious roast turkey.
And while its generally accepted that you’ll wash a bird before placing it in the oven to get rid of any germs, it turns out this isn’t as effective as you may have believed.
Two types of bacteria are associated with poultry: Campylobacter and Salmonella – and neither washing a turkey in hot or cold water will kill these.
In fact, if you do wash a bird in the sink you may contribute to the spread of these bacteria through droplets of water which can touch, and contaminate, other surfaces.
Many Australian families will no doubt be celebrating Christmas dinner with a delicious roast turkey (stock image)
This can happen without you even noticing, and it’s then that you’re most likely to get sick.
An infection of Campylobacter will see you suffering from abdominal pain, chronic and even bloody diarrhoea, fever and vomiting. Symptoms can last between four and 10 days.
Salmonella infection has similar symptoms, with people developing diarrhoea, fever and cramps that can last between 12 and 27 hours.
If you do wash a bird in the sink you may contribute to the spread of bacteria through droplets of water which may touch and contaminate other surfaces (stock image)
The severity of salmonella can lead to death in some cases.
Even if you purchase turkeys which have been raised organically, this doesn’t mean they will be free of these bacteria strains, Yahoo reports.
If you find there is an excess of moisture on your bird as you are preparing to cook it, Foodsafety.com.au recommends using paper towels to mop up the excess.
Food preparation tips for cooking poultry:
* Do not wash raw poultry before cooking as this will spread any bacteria throughout your kitchen. You can mop up any excess moisture with a paper towel
* Always wash and dry hands and clean surfaces after contact with raw poultry
* Defrost poultry in the fridge or microwave in a container which prevents juices from dripping onto other food
* Make sure the raw poultry juices do not contaminate other food, especially food like desserts or salads that won’t be cooked again
* Always use clean plates and utensils and wash and dry thoroughly between using for raw and cooked poultry. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw poultry
* Cook any poultry meat to 75 degrees Celcious using a meat thermometer in the thickest part or until the juices run clear and are no longer pink. Make sure frozen poultry is defrosted right through to the centre before cooking
Source: Australian Institute of Food Safety
The organisation also advises thoroughly washing and drying your hands after any contact with raw poultry.
Lastly, all poultry should be defrosted in the fridge or microwave in a container which prevents juices from dripping on to other foods.
When cooking poultry, including turkey, always ensure there’s no pink showing when you cut through the thickest part of the bird.
If you have a meat thermometer, 75 degrees Celsius is the recommended safe internal temperature.