According to a recently published research from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), washing raw chicken won’t clean it, but would spread possibly harmful bacteria to other foods and kitchen areas that have already been washed thoroughly.
“Many people often prepare their foods around the sink, so washing raw chicken would lead to cross-contamination,” said an official from the USDA.
The research was conducted in collaboration with North Carolina State University to examine the ways homeowners are handling and preparing raw meat. It had 300 participants who prepared salads and chicken in a testing kitchen.
Some people were provided with some food safety tips on social media in advance that discourage the practice of washing raw chicken. Most of them followed these guidelines.
Up to 60% of participants, who didn’t read the safety tips, washed their raw chicken. And approximately one-third of these cases had contaminated salads with bacteria from the meat.
A few participants washed their meat by soaking in the sink with water or adding lemon juice, vinegar, or soap. From a microbiological perspective, these tasks don’t actually bring any benefits.
More importantly, they often cleaned veggies and fruits in the same place where they had just washed their raw chicken. This caused contaminated water to stick to these fresh foods.
While nobody consumed the prepared foods in the research. The study kept testing chickens and salads after cooking the meals. It found contamination even after participants had cleaned these ingredients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 millions of people suffer from foodborne disease each year in the United States.
Salmonella is the most common form of bacteria in raw chicken. It causes millions of illnesses each year. Some possible health issues caused by salmonella include stomach cramps, fever, or diarrhea. Another form of bacteria often found in under-cooked or raw chicken is campylobacter, which leads to more than 1 million cases each year.
In fact, the problem related to washing raw chicken isn’t new. It has been occurring for many decades. Many people just get sick and don’t know the exact reason.
Older people, kids, and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for these foodborne conditions.
Many experts and scientists believe that it is important to educate the next generation and teach them how to prepare foods more safely. There are many ways to reduce the risk, such as washing hands carefully, sanitizing the kitchen and sink, using a meat thermometer, and using separate utensils or cutting boards for raw meat and other foods.