Based on research by the Safe Food Organization, 43% of people wash turkey before cooking, which can spread food poisoning germs around kitchen surfaces, utensils, hands, and ready-to-eat foods. If your mom is anything like mine, then she's convinced washing meats before preparing them is "healthy and preventative." It's actually incredibly dangerous. The smallest amount of water splashed from washing raw meats can carry a harmful amount of pathogens.
The study found that 1 in 4 people leave the turkey out of the refrigerator, sometimes overnight, mistakenly thinking this is the safest way to store and thaw it. Leaving raw, uncovered meat open even in the refrigerator is a breeding ground for germs.
More than half of people justify the “color of the juices” to determine whether the turkey is safely cooked, which is not reliable. One in four people incorrectly determine if a turkey is fully cooked by cooking time only.
The CDC says turkey and other poultry should be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees F. A food thermometer should be stuck in the breast for the best results. Leftover poultry should be reheated to the same temperature it was originally cooked in.