Don’t wash turkeys, says FSA

Food safety bosses are urging consumers not to wash their raw turkey this Christmas or risk spreading germs.

Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), warned consumers that washing the raw bird can lead to bacteria already present on the meat being splashed up to three feet away.

He said: “It’s one of the reasons why the FSA recommends that you shouldn’t wash your Christmas turkey before cooking it. Washing the bird under the tap in the sink will create droplets and splashes that can be carried in the air and spread to other parts of the kitchen. They may easily spread to other ready-to-eat foods that you will not be cooking again. This means you will not have the opportunity to kill those germs and if they are in the correct conditions to grow, they may make you ill when you eat them.

“Bacteria such as campylobacter and salmonella can contaminate hands, surfaces, utensils, and foods such as ready-to-eat meals. So handle your bird as little as possible by unpacking it directly into the baking tray before placing it straight into the oven. Remember to dispose of any wrapping materials directly into the bin and wash your hands thoroughly after.”

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