New USDA guidelines to avoid turkey dangers

New USDA guidelines to avoid turkey dangers (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The USDA has issued new guidelines in recent years and what they say about washing the turkey is really surprising if people have done that for years.

Local 12 News stopped at the Midwest Culinary Institute to talk to nutrition experts and chefs who have some advice as people get ready for the biggest eating day of the year!

Brianna Schulte said once people discover there's always more than one way to make the same dish, “You'll never cook one dish the same way.”

That might be especially true when it comes to the turkey. New guidelines from the United States Agriculture Department said when it comes to washing the turkey before it gets cooked, “It's actually not recommended and one of the reasons why is because when you open up the packaging, raw juices can have harmful bacteria, salmonella, and that can splatter on your counter tops,” said Laurie Schrand, registered dietitian at Midwest Culinary Institute.

While that may seem to go against what people usually do, Schrand said the problem with bacteria on counter tops is that, “When you start preparing your other food items, your green beans and mashed potatoes, that can get into those food products and will make your family very sick.”

While the science is pretty interesting on both sides, many people simply said they were not comfortable not washing the turkey. So if people do wash it there’s some advice to follow. A couple of steps that could make all the difference if people are feeding their family and them to enjoy the meal and stay well after they eat it.

Schrand said first up, “When you unwrap the turkey you want to do it in the sink.”

Then, after people wash it, pat it dry, “You just want to pat it with paper towels, that's what I'd recommend.”

Then even before the turkey is put in the oven, remember to do what Brianna has learned in her cooking classes, “Anytime we touch meat, we have to wash our hands afterward.”

Cook the turkey to at least 165 degrees to get rid of all the bacteria according to the USDA. People should really make sure that the thermometer is deep in the bird and the stuffing if inside it is also cooked all the way through.

CLICK HERE for more on the guidelines by the USDA.

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