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Food scientists contend don’t rinse a turkey. Here’s why

  • December 25, 2019

As family and friends accumulate over a holidays, food scientists contend there are ways to make violation bread both gratifying and safe.

If turkey and a side dishes will be served, there are a few steps you should follow to equivocate food-borne illness.

Public Health Ontario estimates illnesses from all food sources lead to an estimated 100,000 doctor’s bureau visits, 40,000 puncture dialect visits, 6,200 hospitalizations and some-more than 50 deaths a year.

For prevention, food reserve experts advise a 4Cs: clean, cook, chill and (avoid) cross-contamination. Here’s how.


First off, make a devise to defrost a turkey.

Budget 12 hours per kilogram of solidified turkey in a fridge.

Or plunge a turkey in a enclosure of cold H2O in a hermetic package, changing a H2O about each 30 minutes. It takes about an hour per kilogram regulating this method.


Dr. JinHee Kim is a open health medicine with Public Health Ontario’s environmental and occupational health team. The recommendation on soaking poultry, including turkey, has altered over a decades, she said.

“Now it’s endorsed that we don’t rinse a turkey or chicken,” Kim said. “It competence do some-more mistreat than good.”

Washing a turkey isn’t effective during removing pathogens that means stomach-turning illnesses, and studies advise it is formidable to get absolved of germs that can contaminate the sink, hands, utensils and countertops from tender juices striking or touching surfaces.

But Kim recognizes that a tradition dies hard. “My mom, actually, we have to say, still infrequently washes her duck or turkey.”

So where did a thought of soaking a turkey thought issue and because does it persist?

Canadian Benjamin Chapman is a highbrow of food reserve during North Carolina State University, where he helped to ready a video on why not to rinse poultry.

“Not certain accurately where it started, though it was something that was expected popularized by Julia Child behind in a 1960s, and it stays in a lot of cookbooks today,” Chapman pronounced in an email.

Instead of soaking ornithology after holding a beef out of a wrapper, it can be wiped down with a paper towel or cloth that’s expected of, followed by soaking your hands and any towel we competence use to dry them.


The “danger zone” for pathogens to greaten lies between 4 C and 60 C.

Marsha Taylor is an epidemiologist with a BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), where she marks illness rates to try to detect any increases and to examine outbreaks, including food-borne illnesses.

Poultry, such as duck and turkey, need to be baked to 74 C or hotter, a BCCDC pronounced in a recently updated advisory on the salmonella outbreak investigation that’s being tracked opposite Canada.

“The only approach to know that you’ve reached that is to use a beef thermometer,” pronounced Taylor. “There’s no approach to visually see that you’ve baked your turkey to 74 degrees Celsius.”

Health Canada goes further, advising that whole birds, including turkeys, chickens and ducks, should be baked to an internal heat of 82 C — and that a 74 C superintendence relates to particular pieces, such as wings, breasts, legs and thighs.  

In this Aug. 13, 1992 photo, cook and author Julia Child binds tomatoes in a kitchen during her home in Cambridge, Mass. She expected popularized a thought of soaking a turkey, that persists in cookbooks currently notwithstanding studies suggesting it isn’t a best idea. (Jon Chase/Associated Press)

Taylor also warns that people should avoid cross-contaminating purify surfaces and baked food with tender dishes and juices, quite by gripping furnish and tender proteins apart during preparation.

“Once tender turkey has overwhelmed a slicing board, a plate or utensils, all of those should be cleared in hot, fatty water,” pronounced Taylor, adding a same goes for your hands. 

The veggies

Kim pronounced food reserve includes a series of challenges, including some-more outbreaks over time due to uninformed fruit and vegetables that are eaten but cooking — one of a stairs to kill pathogens.

The new remember of romaine lettuce in Canada and the U.S. because of intensity decay with pathogenic E. coli is a box in point. Other outbreaks have occurred with cantaloupes, peanut butter and spinach.   

What can consumers do?

Tim Sly, an epidemiologist and highbrow emeritus during Ryerson University’s School of Occupational and Public Health, has some suggestions.

Washing all vegetables entirely underneath cold using H2O is always a good thought to mislay any dirt. (Dean Fosdick/Associated Press)

“It is best not to squeeze pre-cut, bagged lettuce or churned greens for tender salad use,” Sly said. “E. coli has been found to belong to a cut surfaces most some-more successfully than to a total leaves.”

Washing entirely with cold running water is always a good thought for greens that will be eaten uncooked, food reserve experts say. 

But traceability is a vital challenge.

“We are immoderate fruit, vegetables and beef that issue from median around a world. What are a processes that are in place for clarity and traceability in a eventuality that something occurs?” Kim asked.

Contamination can occur on a farm, in a estimate trickery or during home.

But improved detection, Kim notes, also contributes to a trend toward some-more outbreaks from uninformed produce.

“We are doing a most improved pursuit of identifying illness and joining it behind to a food,” she said.

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