Don’t Wash Your Chicken; Here’s Why

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Food & Drug experts are warning people not to wash their chicken before they cook it. It sounds crazy, but here’s why… 

Studies have shown that 44% of the population washes raw chicken prior to cooking. The percentage goes up to 71% when the chicken is frozen.

Both situations raise the risk of spreading Campylobacter bacteria on multiple surfaces (hands, clothing, cooking utensils, counter tops and more) via splashing droplets of water.

Common symptoms of Campylobacter poisoning include abdominal pain, severe diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis, as well as a serious condition of the nervous system known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately one in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome.

As many as 40% of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in the U.S. may be triggered by campylobacteriosis.

The Naked Truth

A single drop of juice from raw poultry can have enough Campylobacter in it to infect a person!

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NAMRS) reported that 47% of raw chicken samples bought in grocery stores tested POSITIVE for Campylobacter.

Do NOT wash raw poultry prior to cooking.

Prevent cross contamination- Immediately wash any cutting boards/utensils that have come into contact with raw poultry before using them to prepare any other foods.

If you feel the need to wash your poultry:

Let’s face it, sometimes you MUST wash poultry, like the inside of turkeys before stuffing them, legs/thighs to remove bits of bone from butchering, etc. Here’s how to do so safely:

Place the poultry in a colander in the center of the sink

Rinse using cold water turned on low, (to help prevent splashing)

Let the chicken set a few moments to fully drain off

Wash your hands with hot soapy water

Wash the surrounding counter areas with hot soapy water (A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water may be used to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils.)

Dry the counters/ surfaces thoroughly

Properly cooking poultry effectively kills any potential bacteria (Salmonella, Campylobacter, etc) that is on the chicken, but taking these simple steps will ensure that you don’t accidentally spread the bacteria prior to cooking. (Source: BlackDoctor.org byCharles Reed)