Talking Turkey: How to eat safely

Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 12:28:57-05

(NBC News) It’s nearly turkey time, but do you know how to cook it properly so you won’t make your Thanksgiving guests sick?

For starters, do not wash your bird.

“If you put water on the turkey, it’s not doing anything to kill any potential pathogens on the outside of the bird,” says the U.S.D.A.’s Carmen Rottenberg. “You can actually be spreading contamination around the kitchen.”

The U.S.D.A. says the only way to kill bacteria is to make sure it is thoroughly cooked.

Use a meat thermometer in three parts: the breast, the thigh, and the leg. Each must reach 165 degrees.

Also, experts stress it is important to wash your hands before and after you handle any raw poultry.

Finally, before you lapse into that turkey coma, make sure you put away your leftovers.

“Pathogens can multiply at a very fast rate if you’re not getting those leftovers into the refrigerator within two hours of serving,” Rottenberg warns.