Chicken: To Wash or Not to Wash?

August 21, 2021
By: Shawn Eakin

It’s an age-old debate that prompts a different answer depending on who you ask – should one wash raw chicken before cooking? Americans consume more chicken every year than any other meat. The verdict is in and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the answer is no. Raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria or sometimes even Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. As a result, consuming undercooked chicken or other foods contaminated by raw chicken or its juices can lead to foodborne illnesses like food poisoning. Even washing poultry under running water can cause the bacteria to spread to your hands, work surfaces, clothing, and cooking equipment. The CDC estimates that every year about a million people get sick from eating chicken contaminated with harmful germs. 

If chicken is on your menu, follow these steps from the CDC to ensure it’s prepared correctly and safely: 

  • When shopping for raw poultry, be sure to place it in a plastic bag before putting it in your shopping cart and refrigerator. 
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling.
  • Do NOT wash your raw chicken! 
  • Always use a separate cutting board for raw meats.
  • Never place cooked food or produce on a surface that previously held raw chicken. 
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item.
  • Use a thermometer to make sure your chicken is fully cooked. A safe temperature for consumption is 165º.
  • Handle frozen raw chicken the same way you would as if it were fresh and raw.
  • If you feel chicken is not fully cooked at a restaurant or at home, don’t hesitate to say something or send it back. 
  • We all love leftovers! When saving leftover chicken be sure to return it to the refrigerator or freezer within two hours. 

Enjoy your chicken!
-Revere Meat Co.