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Do Not Wash Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

 Posted on November 05, 2016 in Food borne illness

Do Not Wash Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

At first glance, you might think you misread the title of this blog post. For most of us, washing food is the natural next step before seasoning and cooking it. Conventional wisdom says that this is the way to remove harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. With most foods, this is correct. But with raw poultry, washing simply splashes juices from the bird and bacteria around the sink and countertop, creating an atmosphere in which they can be spread to other foods and onto guests' hands.

So, what should you do with the turkey? Cook it to a safe internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will kill any harmful bacteria in the turkey. To determine whether your turkey has reached a safe internal temperature, stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Another way you can make your turkey safer this Thanksgiving is to avoid stuffing it before putting it into the oven. When stuffing is cooked inside a turkey, it absorbs the meat's juice. Rarely, the stuffing reaches a safe internal temperature, which means that it can harbor dangerous bacteria even if the meat does not. To enjoy safe stuffing this year, cook the stuffing separately and add it to the turkey while it rests after being cooked.

Washing Vegetables and Fruits Properly to Avoid Illness

Use a vegetable brush and a produce cleansing solution to thoroughly clean your fruits and vegetables before preparing them for Thanksgiving dinner.

Do not assume that produce is “less dangerous” than meat and other animal products when it comes to harboring dangerous bacteria. Fruits, vegetables, and grains can all contain dangerous, illness-causing bacteria and because of this, cross contamination should be strictly avoided. Use a new cutting board and knife for the preparation of each course and wash your hands thoroughly between each.

Sanitize Your Kitchen Properly on the Big Day

Another key to protecting your loved ones from food poisoning is keeping a sterile kitchen. Use hot, soapy water to clean all utensils, dishes, and food containers.

Do not neglect your counters, cabinets, and appliances. Some individuals like to use a watered-down bleach solution to clean these surfaces and others opt for a vinegar-based solution followed by hydrogen peroxide. Both are effective at disinfecting kitchen environments. When a foreign material enters your kitchen, clean the surfaces it touched promptly. For example, if a guest rests her purse on your counter, sterilize that section of counter before using it to prepare or serve food. Purses can easily pick up and harbor many types of bacteria, as can sets of keys and outerwear.

Work with an Experienced Palatine Food Poisoning Lawyer

This Thanksgiving, take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting food poisoning at your holiday table. But if you or your child develop food poisoning symptoms after eating at a public event or restaurant, consider seeking compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Contact our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas from our office located in Chicago.

(image courtesy of Patrick Fitzgerald from Atlanta, GA)

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