If you’ve always washed your chicken, it may be time to rethink this potentially dangerous practice.
It’s the most polarizing problem in poultry: should you wash your chicken before cooking it?
Food poisoning experts and health professionals advise against this practice, as it can increase the spread of bacteria and the risk of cross-contamination.
In addition to avoiding these other cooking mistakes that can make your food toxic, handling your raw chicken carefully during cooking is key to avoiding food poisoning.
What Happens When You Wash Raw Chicken?
Most people who clean their chickens think they are washing germs or slime off the chicken. And while they’re right to assume that raw chicken is often teeming with bacteria, such as campylobacter or salmonella, washing with water won’t help combat this.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your chicken exacerbates this problem, as the running and splashing water can spread bacteria around sinks, countertops, and even your clothes.
So add this “hack” to the list of germ tips that won’t work. The USDA states that the only surefire way to eliminate bacteria is to cook the chicken at the correct temperature, and these rules apply to other meats and fish as well.
The minimum temperature for cooked chicken should be 165 degrees, and a good way to determine the temperature is with a meat or instant-read thermometer like this one.
Even professional chefs are divided on this issue. Julia Child has been a staunch advocate of washing chicken, while Ina Garten recently appeared on her show to emphasize that there is no need to wash chicken or other meats.
Garten’s side has the science to back it up, and despite the potential dangers of washing chicken, there’s really no reason to do it other than attachment to long-cultivated habits.
In short: if you wash raw chicken, do it safely
However, if you’re going to be faithful to washing your chicken, as Drexel University food safety researcher Jennifer Quinlan told NPR, don’t try to wash it at least once to see if you can really notice a difference.
If sliminess is an issue, try patting the chicken with a paper towel. If you decide to continue your washing habit, you should take steps to properly disinfect all surfaces with which the liquid or splashes have come into contact to avoid cross-contamination, and wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat or food or utensils that contain it. has come into contact.
The careful handling and preparation of raw poultry is essential to maintain good health.