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Why You Shouldn't Wash Your Raw Chicken

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Washing raw chicken seems like a logical first step when you're preparing one of your favorite chicken thigh recipes or mixing it into a casserole for added protein. But despite dealing with this meat on a fairly regular basis, apparently, we're not supposed to wash raw chicken before preparing it. Who knew?

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 some hot water. In fact, you might be doing more harm than good. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), recommends not washing your raw meat because it increases the chance of contamination due to splashing water. Some bacteria on meat is so tightly attached that it cannot be removed unless you soak it in very hot water — and 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." IIn an interview with BuzzFeed, she agreed with the USDA recommendations and added that washing your meat does not remove pathogens, the little buggers that make you sick.

And what about soaking your meat? While salt and vinegar may make the base of a good marinade, they won't kill any pathogens, either.

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! Three experts and one FIRST editor are telling you to stop rinsing your raw meat. So will you still wash your chicken?

h/t BuzzFeed

Check out the recipe for these crispy, crunchy chicken cutlets!

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