You probably wash your chicken before cooking like millions of people across the world but do you know that doing so is not recommended? As a matter of fact, washing your chicken is considered a potentially dangerous practice.
Food health and safety professionals are advising against this practice, as it can increase the spread of bacteria and the risk of cross-contamination.
A lot of people who clean their chickens think they’re washing germs or sliminess from the chicken. While this is correct to a certain extent, since the common assumption is that raw chicken is often teeming with bacteria, such as campylobacter or salmonella, washing it with water does nothing to combat this.
According to the UK National Health Service, washing your chicken actually worsens this problem, because the running and splashing water can spread bacteria around sinks, countertops, and even your clothing.
Experts maintain that the only sure way to eliminate bacteria is to cook meat to the proper temperature, and these rules extend to other types of meat and fish as well. The minimum temperature of cooked chicken should be 165 degrees, and something close to this for other types of meats.
Also, even professional chefs have been divided on this issue. Some chefs are staunch supporters of washing chicken and other meat, while some reinforce that there is no need to wash it or other meats.
While the former assertion is backed up by science, and other than the potential hazards of washing chicken, there’s really no reason for it other than attachment to long-cultivated habits.
If you are one of those that just can’t help but wash their chicken however, food safety researchers at Drexel University recommend that you try not washing it more than once at first, so as to be able to at least notice a difference.
If sliminess is an issue, try patting the chicken down with a paper towel. If you decide to continue your washing habit, you may want to consider taking measures to properly disinfect any surfaces the liquid or splashing may have come into contact with, to prevent cross-contamination and wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat or any food or tool that has come into contact with it.