Do you need to wash meat and veggies before cooking them?

Avoid Washing Your Turkey, for Thanksgiving Dinner. There are a few ways to cook a turkey, but many health agencies warn not to wash it beforehand. Instead, they say drain liquid from the packaging and then pat the turkey down with paper towels. Be sure to also throw the packaging out after removing the turkey. When done with preparation, wash your hands with hot water and soap. Besides turkey, the USDA recommends not washing other types of raw meat before cooking. This includes beef, pork and poultry. The bacteria in raw meat and its juices is why the USDA recommends to avoid washing. Doing so risks the bacteria spreading to other food items and utensils. You can’t wash off bacteria with water, and rinsing out the turkey risks splashing its juices all over the sink, Consumer Reporters nutritionist Amy Keating, R.D., via food safety memo

A clinical dietitian at the Mayo Clinic has advice on handling raw foods

When it comes to food safety in the kitchen, it’s important to keep your work area clean from bacteria and the possibility of cross-contamination.

It’s best to use hot, soapy water to wash utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces you use, especially when handling raw meat and poultry.

Explore5 ‘clean’ habits that actually make your kitchen germier

But what about washing raw meat and chicken before cooking? Here’s Mayo Clinic clinical dietitian Anya Hill with more.

Gathering family and friends together for a home-cooked meal should bring joy. The last thing you want is unexpected food poisoning.

“It’s important to remember to wash your hands frequently, keep foods at proper temperatures and cook meats to proper temperatures to avoid any foodborne illness,” says Hill.

Rinsing vegetables to rid them of loose grit or lingering dirt helps reduce germs. But when it comes to meat and poultry, that’s another story.

“Some people think they are supposed to wash their meats and chicken before cooking. I recommend not washing them because that puts you at risk for spreading the bacteria around your kitchen and around yourself,” Hill says.

ExploreWhy you should never wash your turkey

Cooking raw chicken straight from the package is safe, says the Food and Drug Administration, because modern food safety systems have been greatly improved. Bringing meats to their proper temperatures will destroy any foodborne illness.

Chicken and all poultry products are safe to eat at 165 degrees farenheit. Beef, pork and lamb should be cooked to 145 farenheit, and ground meats are safe to eat at 160.

By following a few simple tips, you can safely feed those you love the food you love.

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