A brief history of chicken washing

Please stop washing your chicken!


Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it’s prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Ask Karen” website advise:

“Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food…

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3 thoughts on “A brief history of chicken washing

  1. Susan

    This post is very timely, as I have been struggling trying to reconcile the concept of chicken brining (which I just did a few days ago), with the admonishment not to wash chickens. Are these not contradictory practices?

    1. The Chef's Last DIet Post author

      Not really. People wash chicken because they believe they are washing off bacteria, which is not the case. When you brine though, you need to be careful how you dispose of the brining liquid, and understand that it can spread salmonella. Brining serves a purpose, whereas washing chicken does not.

  2. Pingback: A brief history of chicken washing | Bloppy Blo...

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