Newswise — The instructions for many Thanksgiving turkey recipes say to “rinse turkey thoroughly.” However according to Christine Bruhn, PhD, CFS, food science professor from UC-Davis and Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) member, this is a huge food safety problem. The water splashing distributes any Salmonella up to two feet around your sink and therefore increases potential for cross contamination. Bruhn says if the turkey is cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the bacteria won’t be an issue. She also advises preparing the stuffing outside the bird as it takes too long to get hot when cooked inside which allows bacteria to grow.

In regards to brining, Bruhn says to think of brining as a marinade. There is no need to rinse afterwards. Just place in a baking pan and proceed with your recipe. If a person feels compelled to rinse, use a low water flow to avoid splashing and thoroughly clean sink and counter, and surrounding areas with detergent followed by a sanitizing solution.

Dr. Bruhn is available for interviews on this topic and can provide other food safety tips as well. Please contact Stephanie Callahan at [email protected], 312-604-0273.

UC-Davis video of Dr. Bruhn discussing why you shouldn’t wash poultry.

IFT Food Facts video featuring Dr. Bruhn discussing common kitchen food safety mistakes.