As fabulous as Christmas and Thanksgiving are, there are a million things you can do in the kitchen to ruin these extraordinary occasions, and washing your raw turkey or chicken before cooking it is one of them. This may sound silly, but secretly, it’s a recipe for disaster- here’s why.

Why Is Rinsing The Bird Bad For You?

To most of us, washing the turkey or chicken sounds sanitary. After all, anything could have touched the bird before you bought it! However, in reality, all you’re doing is chucking dangerous germs all over your worktops.

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As you wash uncooked meat, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally splash harmful pathogens like salmonella onto your food preparation surfaces. Needless to say, a case of severe food poisoning isn’t the best way to kickstart the festive season.

What Should I Do Instead?

Instead of washing your meat, put it straight into a pre-heated oven. This is hands down the most effective way of killing any bacteria living on the surface of the skin.

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Once you’ve done that, thoroughly disinfect any utensils, cutting boards, pots, pans, and work surfaces that came into contact with the raw meat. The last thing you want is cross-contamination raining on your parade.

Other Tips To Prevent Salmonella

In addition to the above advice, other things reduce the risk of contracting salmonella over Christmas. Firstly, ensure all your fresh food is adequately refrigerated before cooking.

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You should also clean your hands with soap and water before touching the food you’re preparing (the same principle is true of any work surfaces you used but with disinfectant rather than hand soap). You should also rewash your hands after touching raw meat. Last but not least, use a meat thermometer. This ensures your turkey is cooked to a safe temperature before you serve your delicious meal to your guests.