There is a good chance that you wash your raw chicken before your cook it, because it is estimated that 90% of people take this additional step. Surely you’ve heard that it is important to wash the chicken to rinse off the harmful bacteria that has the potential of making you very sick. Two of those harmful bacteria that lead to food poisoning are campylobacter and salmonella.
But, washing the raw chicken is not necessary, and in fact…it’s not advised. When you wash the chicken beforehand, that bacteria has the potential to spread to everything else you make contact with, including your hands, the sink, and the counter. Sounds a lot worse than just being on the chicken right?
A study that was conducted at Drexel University determined that the majority of people wash their chicken prior to cooking it, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is on a mission to put a stop to the washing.”It does not get rid of the bacteria, it does not kill the bacteria. However, there is a chance that it will spray that bacteria called aerosolization,” said researcher, Jennifer Quinlan. Instead, they have put together a list of rules to follow when preparing your chicken…
Separate. Always be sure to separate raw poultry and any juices from other pieces of food. If you are chopping vegetables to go along with the same meal, be sure to do that on a separate cutting board.
Cook. Poultry should be heated at a safe and low temperature. Typically this is 165 degrees Fahrenheit if you measure it with a food thermometer.
Chill. As with other food items, be sure to refrigerate your poultry and do it right away. Don’t let it sit out for long.
Clean. This one is kind of a given. Clean your hands and wipe down surfaces often. All it takes is a tiny spec of raw chicken juice to get you sick for days.
In recent months there have been two campaigns launched to prevent the washing of chicken. The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched the Food Safe Families campaign which involves using the steps above. And Drexel University launched the Don’t Wash Your Chicken campaign, which is attempting to reverse the bad habit of chicken washing. Consuming a little bit of bacteria can lead to severe illness and sometimes even worse. It is up to us to spread the word and teach future generations about bringing awareness of this frightening topic.
Some symptoms of those who have eaten salmonella are: diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. While the majority of people recover from salmonella poisoning, others have been victim of more serious cases and have died.
The other lethal bacteria found in raw chicken is campylobacter. Diarrhea is also a symptom of those who consume this type of bacteria but the length of illness is a bit longer and can last up to ten days, causing severe abdominal pain. There are other effects that are longer lasting and more severe, including arthritis and Guillan-Barre syndrome. Muscle weakness and nervous system issues are symptoms of the syndrome.
Drexel University put together an educational video regarding the perks of NOT washing your chicken.
Source – AWM