Did you know that washing poultry might do more harm than good?

Did you know that washing poultry might do more harm than good?

Washing poultry such as chicken, duck, and turkey doesn't actually get rid of the bacteria on the meat. Read to find out more!

Did you know that washing poultry can do more harm than good?

It increases the risk of cross-contamination

The USDA says that washing poultry, such as duck, chicken, or turkey, won’t get rid of any harmful bacteria. In reality, it can even increase the chances of spreading bacteria.

What actually happens when you wash your poultry, let’s say chicken, is that the water splashes from the bird and can get onto countertops and other surfaces, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.

Fergus Clydesdale, head of the food science department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst shares that “The risk of cross-contamination through washing poultry is far greater than shoving it in the oven without washing it, which makes the risk almost zero.”

Make sure to cook your meat thoroughly

Photo from: freestockphotos.biz

Photo from: freestockphotos.biz

According to the USDA, the best way to avoid getting sick from contaminated poultry would be to cook it, since that’s the only way to effectively kill the bacteria on uncooked food.

The same thing would also apply to meat in general; cooking pork, beef, lamb and poultry is the best way to ensure that you don’t get sick from bacteria such as salmonella. The only thing that you should wash when handling meat would be the surfaces that you place your meat, and your hands so that you can avoid contaminating other food.

Handling food properly

Whenever we cook for our family, the last thing on our minds would be that they get sick from the food we prepare. However, are we really sure that we know the proper way of handling our food?

Here’s what you should know:

  1. Never wash your poultry, and meat in general. Washing meat can cause the water to splash on your countertop or onto other food, which just spreads the bacteria even more. Cooking your food is the best way to kill bacteria.
  2. Cross-contamination is a big risk. If you use the same chopping board for chopping your meat and your vegetables, then you’re at risk for cross-contamination. That’s because the bacteria that’s on the meat can go into your vegetables and contaminate them. Make sure to use different utensils for meat, vegetables, and cooked food.
  3. Keep your hands clean. You should always practice cleanliness in the kitchen; always wash your hands after handling meat and make sure to use soap and water.
  4. Don’t thaw food at room temperature. Thawing food at room temperature actually increases the risk that it will get contaminated by bacteria. It might take longer, but thawing your food inside the fridge or in cold water would be much safer.
  5. Cook your food to the right temperature. It’s not enough to simply cook your food, it has to be cooked at the right temperature to make sure that the bacteria in your food is killed. That’s why a thermometer is a pretty good addition to any kitchen. Here’s a handy guide on what temperature your food needs to be.


Sources:Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping, Food Safety News

READ: Are you learning unsafe food handling from popular cooking shows on TV?

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