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Why You Shouldn’t Rinse Your Chicken

On the menu tonight: chicken parmesan—your favorite!
Why You Shouldn’t Rinse Your Chicken

After preparing all your dry ingredients, you unwrapped the chicken and put it in the sink for a quick rinse. Although you were completely unaware, that’s the moment disaster struck.

While you may have thought you were doing the right thing by running your poultry under the faucet, research has shown that doing so is actually a very bad idea. You know all that bacteria lurking on the chicken you were hoping to wash away? First of all, the water isn’t going to kill it and, what’s worse, once the water hits the meat, the bacteria splatters all over your sink, hands and kitchen, according to the USDA. In fact, some European researchers say that the illness-causing bacteria can fly up to three-feet away from where the chicken is rinsed! The scariest part: Since it’s not possible to see where the bacteria is lurking, it’s almost impossible to clean it up, increasing the odds of foodborne illness.

If you’re part of the 44 percent of people who still washes your poultry and you find this all a bit hard to imagine, check out the "germ vision" animation from researchers at Drexel University below.

Our advice: Take raw poultry straight from the package and place it directly into your cooking pan. Any bacteria present will be killed during the cooking process. After you’re finished handling the raw meat, be sure to clean up any splashes and wash your hands with soap and hot water. This is the best way to reduce the odds of a foodborne illness.


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