Washing raw ingredients before cooking is a common practice in households around the world. While it can be beneficial for people to wash their vegetables, doing so with chicken might lead to foodborne diseases. Food safety authorities and regulators recommend that you don’t wash raw poultry before cooking as it can splash bacteria around the kitchen. It is best to thoroughly cook the chicken without washing it, so it is safe to eat.
Researchers from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, in collaboration with the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) and New Mexico State University, launched a program called “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” in September 2022 to educate people against washing poultry, to celebrate the National Food Safety Education Month in the USA.
The research suggests that Salmonella found on poultry products is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses and a large percentage of consumers are not aware that raw poultry should not be washed.
The program includes four videos that reveal the risks attached to washing chicken:
Washing or rinsing chicken increases risk – The risk of Salmonella, Campylobacter and other harmful bacteria spreading through the kitchen increase water is a way for them to travel.
Chicken has already been washed – The chicken that is available to customers is already washed by manufacturers and there is no feather, filth, or anything unnecessary on the chicken. Therefore, further washing it in the kitchen will not help clean it anymore.
There is a better and safer way to cook chicken – If you see anything on the chicken, wipe it with a clean paper towel and then wash your hands. Separate raw chicken from fresh and ready-to-eat foods and keep surfaces clean by washing them with hot, soapy water. Cooking chicken at 165-degree Fahrenheit (about 74 degree Celsius) using a food thermometer can kill any dangerous bacteria.
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