Many adults were raised in households where raw chicken was washed–or even soaked–in the sink before it was cooked. This was done with the thought process that washing the chicken helped remove dangerous pathogens that might result in food poisoning.
Modern research, however, points out that washing raw chicken is now an outdated notion when it comes to disease prevention. In fact, washing raw chicken can increase the risk for food poisoning from Campylobacter bacteria, which spread onto hands, clothing, cooking utensils and work surfaces as water droplets splash off the raw meat.
The call for awareness is brought by The Food Standards Agency (FSA) as a part of Food Safety Week. Data indicates 44 percent of people in the United Kingdom. The FSA wants to spread the word about the dangers of this traditional habit in an effort to prevent some of the more than 200,000 cases of food poisoning annually. The organization is reaching out to public venues such as TV food programming to urge them to mention the dangers of washing raw chicken.
Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA, told “Medical News Today” that people can get food poisoning from perfectly cooked chicken because it is often contaminated from the surfaces and utensils around it. Infection from Campylobacter can cause an infectious disease called campylobacteriosis which leads to diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, cramping and fever within 2-5 days of exposure. While some individuals do not experience symptoms, campylobacteriosis can sometimes lead to a life-threatening infection.
The FSA recommends four simple steps to preventing Campylobacter food poisoning:
- Cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on to other foods and contaminate them with bacteria.
- Don’t wash raw chicken as cooking is enough to eliminate any bacteria.
- Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, after handling raw chicken. This helps prevent cross-contamination.
- Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.