Like raw eggs, raw chicken can also contain salmonella and other disease-causing germs. So, should you wash chicken before cooking it?
For years, experts have advised caution and good hygiene practices when handling raw poultry. Many people thought they were doing just that by washing their chicken before cooking it. Then, in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they should do the opposite.
Should You Wash Chicken?
„Never wash raw chicken unless you want to spread germs in your kitchen that can make you sick,“ says Samantha Thoms, MPH, RDN, a registered dietitian at the Center of Health Advocacy and Wellness at Florida State University. „You’ll kill the bacteria on the chicken by thoroughly cooking it to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.“
The CDC also recommends:
- Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken
- Never place cooked food or fresh produce on surfaces that previously held raw chicken
- Wash your hands before and after handling chicken for 20 seconds with warm soapy water
Why Do Bacteria Spread When Washing Chicken?
„It’s known that chickens transmit disease-causing germs like salmonella and campylobacter,“ says Thoms. „When you wash chicken, contaminated water can splash onto your faucet, countertop, cooking utensils, and even your clothes. This increases the likelihood of spreading germs in your kitchen and getting sick. This is especially true for people with weakened immune systems, such as young children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses.“