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News 937 views update:Dec 27, 2007

Christmas turkey could cause food poisoning

It has been found that washing turkey under the tap before cooking does not clean it from bacteria. In fact, it only causes more of a breeding ground for nasty germs.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducted a survey of 2000 UK consumers, covering their Christmas eating habits, and discovered that 80% believe that washing a turkey under the tap before cooking it, cleans it of bacteria. The FSA found the opposite to be true.
According Judith Hilton, head of microbial safety at the FSA, "It's not possible to wash off the germs that cause food poisoning with water."
 
Spreading the germs when washing
The washing process can cause bacteria-containing water to splash from the raw meat to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils.  "By washing your turkey, you are actually more likely to spread the germs than get rid of them," said Hilton.

Cooking conditions
Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) has been commissioned by the FSA to find out what the optimal cooking conditions for an unstuffed turkey is.
CCFRA cooked birds using standard methods - that is, breast up, with seasoning, use and subsequent removal of foil, and piercing to allow fat to drain.
The temperature of the birds was measured at various points in the process to see how long they took to reach the optimal temperature of 72°C. Microbiological safety and sensory quality was also assessed.
CCFRA results recommended cooking times and instructions for three different sizes of poultry.
The recommendations are not yet available but are currently being reviewed by the FSA.

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Editor WorldPoultry

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