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Nov 14, 2007 10:54 AM

To rinse or not rinse inside of turkey before placing in oven

My family has always rinsed the inside of the turkey and removed the bag of gizzards before roasting the bird in the oven. Now I read that's it's been highly recommended by health authorities since 1995 that the bird should be placed directly in the oven from its packaging. The logic is that rinsing causes salmonella from the bird to spread to the kitchen counter and utensils.

Personally, I like the bird rinsed first ( we do it under the bathroom faucet and then dry with paper towels) until there's no bloody residue. It just feels cleaner to me. Now I read this in the NY Times in the link below. Will this change your preparation?

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  1. "Certainly a thorough hand washing with hot water and soap and an equally attentive sink scrubbing would eliminate much of the risk of cross-contamination, but meticulous sink and counter maintenance often goes out the window, particularly on Thanksgiving, when cooks are dealing with high volumes of food and the distraction of a houseful of guests."

    It might go out the window in some homes, but it doesn't in mine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockandroller1

      I agree.

      After I have cut up and rinsed any meat product, and after it is in the oven/stew pot/gas grill, etc., I sterilize the sink and the counter with Lysol Food Surface Sanitizer or something similar. If the writer from the NYT doesn't do this type of thing, then that certainly doesn't say much for his/her sense of sanitation, hygiene and cleanliness.

      To suggest that one should not rinse a potentially bacteria-laden food item because the countertop might get dirty/contaminated is just bizarre, IMHO.

    2. I rinse, dry with a towel, not paper towels, and I then "sterlize" the cavity with bourbon or brandy. If there's anything living, that kills it for sure, and gives off a very nice aroma.

      1. The trick is slow on the water. The cross-contamination to the counter and the like occur from the splashing. It you slowly turn on the water to gain a light stream this is minimized. After the bird is bathed wipe it with paper towels and then throw the paper towels out. Bird now goes into the roaster. Then jfood scrubs down the sink and the surrounding counters with hot soapy water. It may not be perfect but you try to do the best you can.

        1. I would rinse. I think the article is a load of hockey.

          Rinsing the turkey spreads salmonella all over the kitchen? For one, it's all staying in the sink going down the drain. For two, where did it come from? The turkey you are going to eat? Well then...

          3 Replies
          1. re: FrankJBN

            On the same note, I would ask....

            How many of you, in all your years, got salmonella from Thanksgiving dinner?

            I can say I never did and my mom washed out her turkey back in the day, as I do now.

            Horse hockey, indeed. Trust your instincts.

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              Seriously, that was my reaction to this article. Is there a yearly rash of food poisoning incidents on thanksgiving that I am missing that has made this a significant enough public health issue to provoke an official announcement?

              1. re: dinnerbell

                Like people aren't cooking poultry all year long. It's the "we have nothing to report, so we are going to run a salmonella article and another one about how fattening Thanksgiving is and another one about how miserable it is to travel on Thanksgiving" syndrome.

          2. I rinse all poultry that I cook. Just a habit, the faucet is on low, & we have a deep sink so the threat of splashing chicken juice around in nil. After rinsing the sink, and surrounding counters are scrubbed, and sanitized as part of a keeping a clean/safe kitchen.

            Also I do not trust anything the N.Y Times writes, so that article just gives me confirmation my process is the way to go. ; )