A national survey by Food Safety Information Council has found 68% of Australians are taking a food poisoning risk by washing their turkey before cooking it.
“The last thing your turkey needs is a bath before being cooked, as cooking the turkey correctly to 75 °C in its thickest part is the best way to kill any bacteria present,” says Council Chair Rachelle Wiilams, warning Australians to avoid unsafe food behaviour this festive season.
“Washing the raw turkey, or any other poultry, can spread food poisoning bacteria around your kitchen where it can contaminate your sink area and other food, utensils and your hands,” she says.
The Council has issued 5 other food safety tips for the holiday season:
- No one goes hungry at a family celebration – don’t over cater and buy too much food that won’t fit in your fridge and leave you with too many leftovers.
- The fridge isn’t just for beer – make room in your fridge for perishable food by putting drinks on ice, this also means the fridge won’t constantly be opened by your guests.
- Christmas ham won’t last forever – check the storage instructions and best before or use by date before removing the ham from its plastic wrap, cover it with clean cloth soaked in water and vinegar so it doesn’t dry out, and store it in the fridge below 5°C.
- Leaving food out in the sun for hours isn’t on – don’t leave dips and other perishable foods like patés, cold meats, poultry and salads out for more than two hours, put out small amounts and replace from the fridge.
- Leftovers – there is no need to cool to room temperature. So as soon as the cooked food has stopped steaming, divide leftovers into into small containers so they will cool quickly and refrigerate or freeze immediately.