For years, my wife listened to her mother’s advice when it came to cooking chicken. “Always wash raw chicken,” my mother-in-law had said, and my wife, the good daughter that she is, took that advice. But now the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has come forward with a warning to anyone who washes chicken while it is raw – don’t do it because it INCREASES the chance that you’ll get a foodborne illness.
While my mother-in-law assumed that washing the chicken would get rid of any bacteria, the CDC makes it clear that this line of thinking is not correct. To the contrary, it can increase the ability for bacteria to thrive on the raw meat as it provides more water for it to flourish in.
Restaurants required trained people to handle their food ingredients. There’s a reason that each kitchen should have someone certified as a food manager. It’s because handling food is not an easy task and requires a lot of knowledge and expertise.
This issue became a talking point after one worker talked about how her co-worker handled raw chicken and then touched everything around the office. The man who didn’t know what was wrong with raw chicken and that it had the possibility to carry dangerous foodborne illnesses, didn’t wash his hands after handling the raw chicken and just thought that it was fine.
Not only did the man not understand that it was dangerous to handle raw chicken, but he also didn’t know how to cook it all the way through and served raw chicken “with a smile.”
Now the CDC has stepped forward to finally put to rest the rumor that it is “healthier” to clean raw chicken before cooking it. The government agency said that cleaning raw chicken increases the spread of bacteria to other surfaces in the kitchen.
Some people claim that cleaning chicken with vinegar, lemon, or lime juice would work. However, this line of thinking was wrong, as well. Those acids do nothing to the powerful bacteria in raw chicken waiting to get you sick.
The CDC writes, “Raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. If you eat undercooked chicken or other foods or beverages contaminated by raw chicken or its juices, you can get a foodborne illness, which is also called food poisoning.”
The CDC also made it very clear that you should not wash raw chicken. They wrote: “Do not wash raw chicken. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.”
The reason that you can’t wash the bacteria off the chicken is that it is inside the meat. It’s not just on the surface trying to jump off the piece of chicken at you, it’s inside the meat where it needs to be cooked to be killed.
The best way to ensure that you’ve killed all the dangerous bacteria in your raw chicken is to use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. Only then can you be sure that you’re safe to eat the chicken.
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