The Dangerous Reason You Should Never Ever Wash Raw Chicken

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Most of us eat chicken, and many of us who eat it were told at one time or another to rinse it before cooking it. Now, we’ve learned that we were wrong. Oh, so wrong.

If foods have contaminants or other microbes we know to be dirty or dangerous, then washing them should always be a good thing, right?

Surprisingly, no. It’s a common misconception, and here’s the science to back it up.

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When raw, the meat’s got a fair amount of Salmonella on it, which, at the risk of stating the obvious, is bad. Which is why this person’s behavior is great advice.

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For instance, this is a little too far over the line. But it IS indicative of how we tend to approach cleaning our food, and a sort of “one size fits all” approach to food prep can have some truly dire consequences.

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Sorry, but that’s doing WAY more harm than good. There are a few reasons why, each one of which is worth knowing on its own.

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In principle, it’s not that bad an idea, but the truth of the matter is that we’re addressing something with an approach that doesn’t work.

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Confused? You’re certainly not alone. Fortunately, the answers are simple AND convincing.

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From the UK’s Food Standard’s Agency:
“The call comes as new figures show that 44 percent of people always wash chicken before cooking it – a practice that can spread campylobacter bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment through the splashing of water droplets.”

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You’re never going to get rid of it with a rinse. Cooking it is the way to best defend against it, and even that’s not 100%. The real culprit in your kitchen, the one we never address, is campylobacter. It’s been known to cause nerve damage and death in those who let it fester untreated. It warrants an education, so check out this video.

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That’s getting all over your kitchen. With campylobacter in it. That threat is far worse than whatever rinsing chicken does, which is practically nothing. As you can tell from this tweet, you’re not alone from letting these half-truths and wives’ tales do more harm than good.

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Make sure you know where your chicken (and your chicken-water) goes and clean those areas as well.

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Here she even instructs people to specifically wash their raw chicken, getting the germs they don’t want on their food…all over their kitchen. The water drops can spread three feet without anyone the wiser, meaning the six-foot diameter around your sink is getting far nastier than you’d like it to be. Fortunately, for your sake and the sake of others, word is getting out.

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I guess things have really swung far in favor of “Team Clean” when people are considering killing the poison on their meat with…poison.

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People are still not only asking if they should but recommending it as food prep.

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To kill Salmonella, cook. To contain campylobacter, clean your surfaces (but not your chicken). To do the exact opposite and hose your kitchen with dangerous micr0-organisms…rinse it. (Don’t do that last thing. That was to make a point.)

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It might be counterintuitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Science is working on our behalf, so let’s do what it says.

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Better late than never, especially if you’ve made it this far doing things the wrong way without getting sick.

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