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Cooking for Thanksgiving? Don't rinse the turkey

Posted at 11:14 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 11:17:00-05

(NBC News) 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," says Carmen Rottenberg of the 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.

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