CDC's chicken washing warning sparks fierce debate: 'You sound crazy'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) certainly had some cooks steaming over their tweet last week that advised consumers to stop washing raw chicken before cooking it. The April 26 tweet received nearly 1,000 comments and 1,600 retweets, with many weighing in over whether or not to follow the health agency’s advice.

“We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken!” the agency tweeted on April 29. “But it’s true: kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it. You shouldn’t wash any poultry, meat, or eggs before cooking. They can spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!”

Still, others were insistent about following their own food safety guidelines while cooking at home.

“In game of the CDC VS OUR ANCESTORS, Ancestors for the win! Thanks for the concern,” Twitter user AnalogGirl71 posted.

Another simply wrote, “Nah, I’m good G.”

Not all were anti-CDC advice, however, with user Jen Barrows writing that she planned to print out the directions to show her husband, who “INSISTS that I have to wash the chicken before I cook it. Anything on chicken will be cooked out if cooked to right temp, and no one wants to eat underdone poultry.”

The initial advice warned against washing chicken before cooking it in an effort to prevent bacterial germs from spreading to surrounding cooking areas or produce.

“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.”

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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.