Washing raw chicken might seem like a logical first step when you’re preparing one of your favorite recipes, but according to a recent message from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) it can actually do more harm than good.
Even though raw chicken can feel a bit slimy as a result of sitting in its own juice, you’re not doing yourself any favors by running it under water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) backs up the CDC’s advice to skip rinsing your raw meat because it increases the chance of contamination from the splashing water. Although some of bacteria is so tightly attached that it cannot be removed unless you soak it in very hot water, at that point, you’re basically cooking rather than washing your meat.
Not entirely convinced? According to Kelly Reynolds, a professor at the University of Arizona who specializes in disease transmission and food safety, washing our food is “a practice we all should get away from.” In an interview with BuzzFeed, she agreed with the USDA and added that washing your meat does not remove pathogens (AKA the little buggers that make you sick).
If you think the experts can do you-know-what with their rules, listen to one more source: a chef who deals with chicken all day long. Chef Antoine Westermann, who runs Le Coq Rico, a restaurant in New York City that specializes in very fancy chicken, told BuzzFeed that he never washes his chicken. “In France, we do not believe in washing chicken with water, as it takes away the taste of the skin. When you are cooking the chicken, the bacteria is cooked out,” Westermann said.
There you have it: You should stop rinsing chicken for safer and tastier meals!