You Should Never Rinse Raw Chicken, And Here’s Why
Like you, I want to keep my family healthy by keeping my kitchen and the food I prepare there as free from bacteria as humanly possible. We all know that in handling raw chicken, there is always a chance of cross-contamination, and none of us want that!
Because I was getting mixed signals about how to treat raw poultry, I decided it was high time I did some research to find out the truth about washing raw chicken.
What I found surprised me, and I’m sharing it with you today so we can all avoid food-borne illnesses from improper handling of poultry. This post will tell you about the bacteria that can contaminate raw chicken and how to prevent cross-contamination and keep a safe, healthy kitchen.
The Risks Of Rinsing Raw Chicken
Sometimes a recipe will call for rinsing chicken, and you may have even heard a celebrity chef or two advocating rinsing chicken. But the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration says that rinsing raw chicken can actually do a lot more harm than good!
Raw chicken can carry bacteria that can make you sick (like Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium Perfringens), but rinsing the chicken won’t do you any good. Any bacteria present in the chicken would be present throughout, so rinsing the outside only spreads the bacteria into your sink rather than getting rid of it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, washing chicken can actually spread germs around your kitchen. Bacteria can end up all over your sink, kitchen towels, and even the walls and floor where contaminated water may have splashed or dripped.
The best way to avoid illness caused by bacteria in raw chicken is to cook it thoroughly (see tip #7 below) and follow standard food safety procedures. Here are some specific tips you should follow when when storing, handling, and preparing raw poultry to prevent cross-contamination and possible food poisoning.
8 Food Safety Tips For Raw Chicken & Poultry
- Place chicken in a disposable bag before putting it in your shopping cart or refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination from the juices getting on other foods.
- When storing raw chicken in your fridge, put it on the lowest shelf to prevent any juices from dripping down onto ready-to-eat foods.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw chicken.
- Use a separate cutting board when working with raw chicken.
- Likewise, don’t put cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surface that has previously held raw chicken.
- After preparing chicken, wash your cutting board, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water before using them for anything else.
- When cooking chicken, use a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165°F, the recommended internal temperature for poultry. (Get my free printable guide to meat temperatures here!)
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken within 2 hours under normal conditions, or within 1 hour if the food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F.
Following these simple rules will keep you and your family happily enjoying safe, delicious chicken!
What’s your family’s favorite chicken dish?