Don’t Wash Raw Poultry

According to research it’s a bad idea to wash chicken before cooking. Why? As the clever video above shows, washing can spread pathogens. The research, conducted by Drexel University, led to the following advice:

Although raw chicken and turkey can carry bacteria on their surfaces, research has shown that washing raw poultry under running water in your kitchen sink is a bad idea.

If germs were visible to the naked eye, you would see that washing poultry just splashes bacteria all over you, your kitchen towels, your countertops, and any other food you have nearby, such as raw foods or salads. This can make people sick, especially young children, pregnant women, older adults and the immunocompromised.

Instead, just take raw poultry straight from the package into the cooking pan. The heat from the cooking process will kill any bacteria that are present. Then clean up any splashes and wash your hands with soap and hot water.

Via Barfblog.

Share this post

Leave a comment


  1. Awesome. I have ALWAYS skipped this step because it seemed silly and (DUH!) heat kills bacteria! Plus, I wasn’t about to “pat dry” with a bazillion paper towels or a kitchen towel (gross). Thank for confirming my genius 🙂

  2. I have seen/heard this before, but have been aware of the dangers. My mother taught me not to have the water on so hard it splashed. Still, I don’t have food sitting around to get splashed. And, the towel I dry my hands on is put directly into the laundry. However, for careless cooks, this is a good idea.

  3. I just read yesterday that rinsing store-bought chicken WAS recommended because otherwise the “preservative fluid it’s packed in” (ew!) gets cooked as well, and it doesn’t taste as good — not because of salmonella concerns. Seems like a rinse with a reasonable faucet pressure would only get chicken juice/bacteria on the inside of the sink and your hands (and paper towels if you use them to make the skin crispy); I already factor that in and wash up accordingly.

  4. When I cut up a chicken, there is no way that I am not going to wash the pieces and get whatever the brown stuff is inside the breast. Lungs? That is what someone said. I like to get the fat off.

    Cutting up a chicken, fileting a breast, cubing a breast, all take much more moving about than washing chicken. So, what do they suggest as a way not to spread chicken juice germs all over. I have flipped more germs that way than my rinsing chicken. I have had to clean lots of walls, counters, and appliances in the past when I took a knife to chicken.

    I really wonder what the experts suggest in the cases above.

    However, for the sloppy and those who are careless, I do agree that chicken should not be washed.

  5. Huh. If I put chicken straight from the package into a cooking pan, I’d be making chicken soup with the juice. And if I then put the package straight into the garbage I’d be splattering the juice all over the floor and the cupboards. Not so much. I hate to say it, but this advice seems directed at those who are buying those artificially clean-and-dry (except for the preservative fluid mentioned above. I’d never heard of that. OMG.) boneless skinless chicken breasts that come all pleasingly presented on a styrofoam tray.

    So I prepare the chicken before I put out the salad. I drain it with some care into the sink. If it’s icky, I rinse it, with a trickle of water, not a fire hose. I cut it/pat it/season it in or on something washable. I put it on to cook. I rinse the packaging for recycling. Then I wash the knife and the dish and/or the cutting board — and the kitchen counters AND THE SINK – and put the dishcloth in the laundry before I go on to the raw things.

    It disheartens me that we are supposed to be both treating our food as if it were toxic — and that often it is — and utterly devoid of any common sense.

  6. Or . . . . . you could just not eat chicken! Problem solved, AND you avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol that contribute to so many preventable diseases in this country. Watch documentary films (on NETFLIX) like “Forks Over Knives” and “Vegucated” and tell me you’re not convinced that a plant-based diet is the way to go.

    • We don’t eat meat unless we know where it comes from. Which means we basically don’t eat meat. I’d say we’re about 99% plant based.

Comments are closed.