Do not wash turkey before cooking - Safefood

Consumers are being reminded not to wash their turkey prior to cooking this Christmas.

According to Safefood, some bacteria, which are present in as many as four in 10 turkeys, can spread through splashes if washed and can survive for three days or more on work surfaces or other foods.

"Consumers should be more concerned about washing their hands than rinsing poultry under the tap, which does little to reduce the number of germs on the surface of poultry", explained Dr Thomas Quigley of Safefood.

Instead, the bird should simply be placed on a baking tray and put straight into the oven. By doing this, consumers can significantly reduce the risk of cross contamination in the kitchen.

Previous research carried out by Safefood found that as many as three in four consumers were unaware that poultry should not be washed before being placed in the oven.

Furthermore, a recent study carried out by the University of Limerick revealed that when preparing chicken, the bacteria Campylobacter, which is a common cause of food poisoning, was found on 36% of draining boards, 18% of oven handles, 27% of counter tops and 27% of hands.

"The importance of hand washing is often underestimated and research has shown that 40% of diarrhoeal illness can be prevented by this. By washing your hands after handling raw food, you can really reduce the risks of getting food poisoning, helping to make it a safe and happy Christmas", Dr Quigley added.

You can obtain a leaflet on food safety at Christmas time from Safefood by calling 1850 40 45 67.


lavender - 07/12/2006 23:30

That should not be a problem in Ireland as most people do not even wash themselves let alone their turkeys! Personal and food hygiene are an unknown thing in most Irish families. I work with the public every day and find that on the most part people do not know the meaning of soap and water. It does not cost too much for soap and you CAN wash in cold water if you have no hot water.

John(johnwilliams) - 12/12/2006 22:31

I presume that Safefood has to justify their existence by issuing rather silly pronouncements like this. It doesn't matter whether you wash the turkey or not. The research it quotes from UL has nothing to do with washing turkeys.

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