There are a million little things to worry about when cooking a Thanksgiving dinner this year, but this is one thing you do not want to screw up: rinsing a raw turkey can spread more bacteria than it does eliminate it.
It does not sound intuitive because you want to wash off the old bird a little before the big moment, but washing an uncooked turkey can inject pathogens like salmonella onto other kitchen surfaces, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. And can therefore lead to serious foodborne illnesses.
We contacted the Good Housekeeping Institute's test kitchen to find out about their thoughts, and they agreed that this rule should apply to all raw poultry, not only for Turkey. "We recommend blotting raw poultry with paper towels instead," says Cathy Lo, Associate Food Editor.
The best way to avoid bacteria on your bird is to actually put it in the oven, notes the USDA. This is because the only way to kill the bacteria on uncooked foods that cause these food-borne illnesses is to cook them. "Also, make sure you wash cutting boards, surfaces, and hands to avoid other cross contamination," Lo adds.
So, remember to wash everything, just and not the turkey.