USDA says washing your turkey is a big no-no
(WSYX/WTTE) -- Most families have a lot of great Thanksgiving traditions, but there is one turkey ritual the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants you to discard.
Forget what your grandma did - the USDA says "don't wash the turkey."
The reason is simple. You actually spread bacteria up to five feet away while washing the bird. The splash effect means other food you have on the counter can be cross-contaminated with these raw turkey juices.
The only time the USDA says a turkey should be washed is if it was brined before cooking.
For those who find not washing the bird unacceptable, the USDA says to remove dishes, dish towels and all other objects from the sink area, then use cold water to rinse the cavity. Hold the turkey up to let it drain into the sink and then place it in the roasting pan.
Don't forget to clean the sink and area around it with hot, soapy water.