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Here are some frequently asked questions about preparing a turkey.
Q:  Your advice states that you should not wash your bird.  Why?
A:  Washing raw meat and poultry is likely to spread bacteria in the kitchen through splashes and droplets. It has been shown that washing or soaking whole chickens does not decrease the number of bacteria on the surface of the meat. Consumers who wash poultry and meat are increasing the likelihood of contaminating kitchen surfaces and hands. The best way to kill bacteria commonly found on raw meat and poultry is to cook it properly.
Q:  How does it spread germs around your kitchen?
A:  Washing the bird under the tap in the sink will create droplets and splashes that can be carried in the air and spread to other parts of the kitchen. They may easily spread to other ready-to-eat foods which you will not be cooking again. This means you will not have the opportunity to kill those germs and if they are in the correct conditions to grow they may make you ill when you eat them. Indeed, research has shown that bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella can be spread quite significant distances in the kitchen, contaminating hands, surfaces, utensils, and foods such as ready-to-eat meals. So handle your bird as little as possible by unpacking it directly into the baking tray before placing it straight into the oven. Remember to dispose of any wrapping materials directly into the bin and wash your hands thoroughly.
Q: Is there anything else that I should remember to do?
A: It also is essential to remind everyone to always wash their hands thoroughly after handling raw poultry or its packaging. This means using hot water and soap and ensuring that hands are thoroughly dried afterwards. A quick rinse under the tap is not enough. Correct hand washing involves vigorously rubbing one hand against the other to create a lather.
Q: How can I clean any surfaces that come into contact with raw poultry?
A: Studies have shown that the use of warm water and soap alone are not as effective at removing contamination from surfaces as when used in conjunction with a disinfectant, such as bleach. The surfaces should be first cleaned with soap and hot water, before applying the disinfectant, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s essential to clean first, as the disinfectant will not be as effective if there are still pieces of food on the surface.
Q: Does this apply to all poultry or just turkey?
A: This applies to all poultry, as Campylobacter is commonly found in all poultry, regardless of the cut or the type of bird.
Click here for questions about cooking the turkey
If we haven't answered your questions, please call the safefood helpline. ROI - 1850 404 567 or NI - 0800 085 1683
This article was provided by Safefood –



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