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This Thanksgiving Wash Your Hands, Not Your Turkey

a woman washing her turkey before putting it in the oven
Vezzani Photography/Shutterstock

Generations of people have washed their turkeys before placing them in the oven to roast, but that doesn’t mean you should keep the practice going. It doesn’t do anything beneficial and just splatters bacteria all over.

No, really. The official stance of the USDA is that you should stop washing your turkey and carefully wash your hands and prep surfaces before and after handling the raw turkey before it goes into the oven.

Why skip the turkey wash? Because at best all it does it remove a tiny amount of surface bacteria. That bacteria will die almost immediately in a hot oven because it’s right at the surface. By washing the raw turkey, you’re transferring that bacteria to your sink and wherever else the water splatters (which might include serving utensils and dishes near the sink). So skip the wash and, while you’re at it, brush up on some other food safety tips here to avoid food poisoning your family.

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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