CDC: Stop washing your raw chicken

Health officials once again warned consumers about the dangers of washing raw chicken before cooking it, citing the risk of spreading harmful bacteria to utensils or other foods. In a tweet sent out on April 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked to a series of steps that can help eliminate the chances of food poisoning while cooking at home.

“Americans eat more chicken every year than any other meat,” the CDC said. “Chicken can be a nutritious choice, but raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. If you eat undercooked chicken or other foods or beverages contaminated by raw chicken or its juices, you can get a foodborne illness, which is also called food poisoning.”

The agency recommended placing raw chicken in a disposable bag before placing it in the shopping cart or refrigerator, washing hands with soapy water after handling it, using a separate cutting board to handle it, and never placing cooked food or fresh produce on the same surface as uncooked chicken.

Among other tasks, it also suggested using a food thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked, and in bold the CDC advised against washing raw chicken because “chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils and countertops.”

While food poisoning can be an unpleasant experience for anyone, children under 5, people over 65 and those with weakened immune systems as well as pregnant women are at risk for developing serious illnesses. It is advised to call a doctor if temperatures reach over 102 degrees, diarrhea lasts more than three days, blood is found in stool, there is prolonged vomiting or if there are any signs of dehydration.