Why you shouldn't wash chicken before cooking and how it could harm you

By SSPDaily editionMar 13, 2024 19:47 PMFood Life hack
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Why you shouldn't wash chicken before cooking
Why you shouldn't wash chicken before cooking . Source: pexels.com

Social media is not the best place for productive discussion and exchange of opinions. Here, even the most innocuous post, such as how to cook chicken, can cause a lot of snide comments.

"In this case," The Conversation reports, "it was a viral video on Tik Tok in which a woman shared a step-by-step guide to cooking chicken. And the viewers were outraged by the fact that she did not wash it."

However, despite the number of negative comments claiming that the cook did the wrong thing, she actually did the right thing. You really shouldn't wash chicken, as it multiplies the risk of foodborne infections.

What is the danger of a regular chicken?

Traces of feathers, mucus, or dirt should of course be washed off the carcass. However, in stores, chickens are already washed and ready for cooking. Nevertheless, many people believe that they should be washed again to remove dangerous microorganisms contained in raw meat. Unfortunately, water won't help here, in fact, it will only make things worse.

Why is this? Chicken is a natural carrier of salmonella and campylobacter, which can cause serious illness. Their symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even blood poisoning. And it is deadly.

The most at risk in this case are pregnant women, people with weak immune systems, children, and the elderly.

Why shouldn't you wash chicken?

Washing a poultry carcass before cooking does not eliminate harmful microorganisms. At best, it washes them off the surface. At the same time, this practice significantly increases the overall risk of infection, as it can lead to the spread of washed-off bacteria throughout the kitchen.

How does this happen?

When you put a raw chicken under the faucet, the bacteria on its skin is washed into the water stream. Then they get into the sink - and possibly onto cabinetry and dish racks.

By the way, splashes can spread up to 1 meter in diameter, making cross-contamination when water gets on other products very likely.

And even if you rinse the sink with water after washing the chicken, it may not be enough to remove all the germs that have gotten on its surface

It should also be noted that soaking the poultry in a brine of water and vinegar or citrus juice does not get rid of salmonella and campylobacter. Studies have shown that their number may decrease slightly after 24 hours of soaking.

How to handle raw chicken properly

Here are some simple steps to keep your chicken safe.

  • After removing the chicken from the container or wrapper, place it in a clean plastic bag so that the contents do not spill onto the kitchen floor or into the trash when disposing of it.
  • Then place the raw bird on a clean cutting board so that you can prepare it.
  • Since washing is not acceptable, simply wipe the carcass with a paper towel. And be sure to dispose of it to avoid contamination.
  • If any meat residue accidentally gets on the work surface during cooking, wipe it off with a paper towel, discard it, and then clean the surface with a diluted bleach or antibacterial spray.
  • Dry the surface with a clean paper towel. Similarly, if the spice containers you use to season the chicken touch it before cooking, be sure to wipe it down with an antibacterial spray.

When you are done cooking the chicken, wash your hands with soap and water. Then wash the cutting board and utensils. It's a good idea to disinfect the work area with antibacterial spray or diluted bleach, and then wipe dry with a clean paper towel.

How to cook chicken properly

You can't remove bacteria from chicken, or any poultry or meat for that matter, by simply washing it. The only way to kill germs and make food safe to eat is to cook it properly.

Cooking poultry at the right temperature (75°C) and time is the most important condition for preventing foodborne illness.

Be sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure the bird is safe to eat.

Another way is to look at the "juice" coming out of the chicken. If it's clear and there are no traces of blood, you've done everything right.

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