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Don't wash that Thanksgiving turkey! - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Don't wash that Thanksgiving turkey!

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With two days until Thanksgiving, it is important for people to know what not to do when preparing their turkey.

One of the worst things you can do while prepping a Thanksgiving turkey is rinsing it off.

"That's really a no-no. First of all, washing the turkey will do nothing to get rid of the pathogens or the bacteria that's on the turkey," said Carmen Rottenberg, United States Department of Agriculture.

What it does do is splash that bacteria all over the sink and onto countertops where other food is prepared. 

The only safe way to kill bacteria is to cook the bird thoroughly. 

A meat thermometer must reach 165 degrees in three spots inside the turkey: the inner-most parts of the breast, wing and thigh.

The USDA also says leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of serving since bacteria grows quickly on food at room temperature.

And if you get to Thursday morning and realize you forgot to defrost the turkey, don't panic. Experts say you can cook a frozen turkey, just plan on having it in the oven longer. 

For questions about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.

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