What CDC says not to do before cooking your Thanksgiving turkey

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

But before you carry on old traditions, the Centers for Disease Control says you might want to re-think how you prep your turkey.

CDC says to NOT 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% of participants reported washing or rinsing turkey before cooking, CDC says, 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 USDA says that if you’re serving a 20+ lb. turkey, it’ll need days to thaw. Put it in your refrigerator today if you want it thawed out – the safe way – by Thursday.

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