September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.

In 2001, Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1" was republished in a fortieth anniversary edition, complete with a foreword to the 1983 edition that acknowledged updates in kitchen technology since the book's original edition. Beck and Child noted that they had adapted recipes from the original 1961 version to include the use of food processors, update meat thermometer readings and adjust for shorter-cooking rice and reformulated chocolate.

However, the 2001 edition still includes the advice: "Because commercially raised chickens, on the whole, are packed in a communal tub of ice at least during part of their processing, it is probably wise to give them a thorough washing and drying before storing or cooking - just to be on the safe side." A jacket note from the same printing indicates that the text therein "leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate confection."

Plus it's Julia Child! Her, Beck and Bertholle's masterwork became culinary canon because of its rigorous attention to getting recipes right. That omelette technique works every time. The boeuf Bourguignon recipe is practically the basis for a cult, and while there are likely far fewer consumers are consulting brain blanching methods these days, a goodly chunk of those who do probably have their copy of MtAoFC cracked open to the relevant section. It stands to reason that a home cook would assume that every facet of the guidance offered would stand the test of time - and it may have been assumed accurate in its day.

Oeufs can be trusted to fluff as the decades roll on, but food production practices - and the accompanying safety concerns - are in a constant state of flux.

Child, it should be noted, passed away at the age of 91 in 2004. It would not be out of the realm of strong possibility that the obsessive recipe tester might have revised the text to reflect the updated safety information, had she been just a teensy bit further from the century mark.

But plenty of equally-trusted cooks of the era were in the kitchen with Julia on the topic of poultry-laundering.

The 1953 edition of Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker's "The Joy Of Cooking" (originally published in 1931) counseled at the conclusion of "To Draw a Bird" not to to soak the bird at any time, but rather: "Hold it under running water to clean the insides." While it might seem somewhat antiquated or twee for modern cooks to take as gospel the teachings of a book with a robust aspic and "ring salad" section, "Joy" is a book that takes on more cachet, the more generations it's been handed down through.

A cook could be forgiven for trusting a book with his or her grandmother's notes penned primly in the margin. The same goes for devotees of Betty Crocker's 1958 "Dinner for Two" ("Select roasting chicken or young turkey. Remove any pinfeathers and wash. Pat dry."), or Caroline B. Perry's 1953 classic "The Shaker Cookbook: Not by Bread Alone." ("Select chickens weighing 2 1/2 pounds or a little over, for smaller ones lack flavor and cook up waxy. Wash well and quarter.")

Nine different recipes in home economist Margaret Mitchell's 1958 "Mealtime Magic Cookbook" for Alcoa Wrap Kitchens begin with some variation of "Wash, clean chicken, cut into desired pieces." Mrs. Albert Simons of 1950's "Charleston Receipts" believed a rooster needed a good washing before being "boil(ed) hard" for Faber's Pilau. Even actor Alfred Lunt hopped on the chicken cleansing train with his Chicken Paprika recipe in the 1948 "The Celebrities Cookbook." ("Wash and disjoint chicken, cutting into portions for serving.")

Toss one more on the fire? Fine: no less an expert than Fannie Merritt Farmer advised in the 1929 edition of "The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book":

"Remove oil bag, and wash bird by allowing cold water to run through it, not allowing bird to soak in cold water. Wipe inside and outside, looking carefully to see that everything has been withdrawn. If there is disagreeable odor, suggesting that fowl may have been kept too long, clean at one, wash inside and out with soda water, and sprinkle inside with charcoal, and place some under wings." [Editor's note: If this even needs to be said, don't try this one at home.]

By 1972, gourmand and cookbook author James Beard made chicken washing contingent upon its origins. While lamenting about the loss of flavor he attributed to modern poultry raising methodology, Beard found one thing to crow about in his "American Cookery":

"However, these nine-weeks wonders are beautiful to look at, perfectly drawn and cleaned, and come so pure they do not even have to be washed before cooking...There was once a time when chicken was a Sunday dinner dish and could be found in most homes stuffed and roasted, stewed with dumplings, or fried and served with cream gravy. Now it is daily food, propagandized for its low calorie count."

Just several pages later, Beard paid homage to these heavy, homey dishes with recipes for sumptuous, long-stewed Country Captain, Stuffed Poached Chicken and Country-Style White Fricassee. He cited chicken washing in each of those, but not for any fried variation, Chicken California or anything involving poaching. American cooks, it seemed, were testing their wings, but not yet ready to fly away from the faucet completely.

Nowadays, there's nary a peep about chicken washing, even in poultry-centric cookbooks, unless it's a caveat against the practice. Cooks Illustrated's 1999 "The Complete Book of Chicken" makes no mention of it, and the tenth anniversary edition of Mark Bittman's food bible "How to Cook Everything" relies on general kitchen cleanliness (including lots of hand washing) and obsessive attention to temperature to ensure the annihilation of harmful bacteria like salmonella.

Better Homes and Gardens, however, knows how far you've come together, and how hard it is to let go of the past. The plaid-bound workhorse of a cookbook could be found in one million American kitchens by its eighth anniversary in 1938 and has now sold more than 34 million copies. It seems almost like a civic duty for the editors to lay it out plainly:

"Rinsing poultry and meat is not necessary. The less you handle it the better."

Maybe...just maybe, the flock will finally follow.

– Fast facts on salmonella

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Consumer resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration's Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
FDA Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Education

More on food poisoning from CNN Health and all foodborne illness coverage on Eatocracy

soundoff (471 Responses)
  1. amy

    In college, I had the "pleasure" of working in the meat dept. of a popular grocery store. Things fall on the floor, there is sawdust on the meat from bones being cut and there are chemical preservatives that you can smell when you open up a fresh box of chicken. Also toured factories and my advice is to rinse the meat. It doesn't hurt, even if it doesn't help. You should know better than to wash your sink and counters with bleach after you deal with meat or fish. If anything, just rinse off the slimy film from packaging.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • nancy

      Yes! Exactly! I rinse meat because sometimes there are bits of bone, or other material left there as a result of cutting or whatever. I don't want to eat the grit or any other contaminants. I didn't raise the bird. I didn't pluck the bird. I don't know where it's been. And I don't have absolute trust in poultry companies. I will continue rinsing meats.

      September 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  2. just me

    If these chickens have all these problems, are they immune to them? If they have problems that will kill humans, won't it kill them too? It's like the hype about bats and raccoons having rabies. If they all had it, they would all die from it.
    Cooking THOROUGHLY will kill everything.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  3. just me

    Stop eating everything half raw and get back to cooking things the whole way through. The only meals I ever got sick from were from restaurants.
    I'll rinse the blood off meats if it looks like they were bathing in it, (simply a matter of choice, not reason).

    September 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • KIMMYLB2003


      September 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  4. Leo Connolly

    I grew up with fresh chicken. We always rinsed the hens with a mixture of cider vinegar and water. The vinegar helps reduce bacteria. But we ALWAYS washed the area afterwards where we did this. I can't imagine splashing water from washing a chicken all over and not cleaning thoroughly.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  5. rtrMicky

    Like boiling, broiling, or baking won't kill surface bacteria anyway. No I do not wash meat. Marinating now is another subject.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  6. Jess

    I'd never heard of anyone rinsing off meats until a few months ago. I worked in retaurants for years before graduating college, and none of the kitchens I worked ever rinsed raw meats. The issue isn't so much with the "splashing" really, it's that your sink now has salmonella germs in it. And down the drain, in the garbage disposal. Sure we clean and sanitize work surfaces, and I clean out my sink, but I sure as he1l haven't ever sanitized down the drain. No way am I rinsing chicken gunk down it on purpose. I cook my chicken to 165 degrees, any germs are long dead; no rinsing required.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • atty23

      What is the difference between having the bacteria disappear down the drain and having it smeared all over a cutting board you wash in the sink later?

      September 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  7. Philippa Alderton

    I Kosher my chicken- in other words, let it soak for a bit in salt water. It really improves the flavor- takes the barnyard taste out of it- and to blazes with all these folks advising us to absolutely do, or not do, stuff. Time only shows they don't know what they're talking about.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • mikeyD74

      whish there was a "love" button for this

      September 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  8. Dover

    You wash a chicken to remove feces. I have been doing it for decades and I have never had a food borne illness. I also eat tuna and swordfish yet have never had mercury poisoning. I have never had trichinosis yet I have had pork cooked less than well done. Stop panicking about all the fear based journalism out there.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • jd

      Hi Dover,

      If you regularly eat canned tuna, then you have had mercury poisoning, whether you know it or not. Sometimes when I've had several cans in a week I can even taste it. (It's sort of a dull flavor on the outside edges of your tongue.)

      The good news is that until recently it was believed that mercury never leaves the body - which is why health people were so freaked out about it. It's absolutely established that mercury is toxic to the body in relatively small amounts. So what they'd do is add up the tuna cans consumed over a lifetime ... and pretty soon everybody would be poisoned.

      It turns out the body gets rid of mercury fairly quickly. So if you go on a tuna/swordfish binge, give them a rest for a couple months to let your body get back to normal.

      September 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Stayed Awake in Science Class

        You have an overactive imagination. You absolutely can not taste mercury that may have built up from eating tuna.

        And canned tuna contains little to no mercury, since it is mostly smaller and younger species of tuna which have not accumulated any mercury from their diets. It's possible to get mercury poisoning from tuna. If - and it's a big if - you are wealthy and crazy enough to eat nothing but expensive cuts of (large, older) tuna for every meal.

        But you're clearly a dingbat. I can't stop laughing about your "I can taste the mercury" stupidity.

        June 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
  9. HomeEc Class

    I remember learning to not only wash chicken, but also inspect it for stray feathers and to burn those off. I think a big difference today compared to then...back then you rarely bought boneless skinless. A whole bird is not as messy boneless skinless and not likely to splatter contaminates. I rarely cook with skin and do not wash it before cooking but I do rinse all packaging with hot water and cook all trimmed parts of the chicken before throwing it away to keep the garbage from getting spoiled chicken smell. Cooked meat does not spoil as quickly.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      The skin is the only good part of a chicken. Oh, and gizzards.

      September 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • RC

        Mmmmmm-fried gizzards...

        September 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  10. Steve

    Fine, don't wash it and eat filthy chicken then.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  11. William

    We ate homegrown chickens as well as other game birds we would butcher and put in the freezer. So washing was more to make sure there was nothing extra i.e. feathers, on it before it was turned into a meal.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Homegrown is the best kind

      September 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  12. usam

    To avoid bacteria in raw meat is do not eat them. There are other nutritious food sources out there.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • well not exactly

      Food borne pathogens in vegetables as well.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • mike

      "To avoid bacteria in raw meat is do not eat them". (grammar issues included) You forgot one word at the end...raw. To avoid bacteria in raw meat is do not eat them raw – COOK IT

      September 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Jennifer


      September 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Jen

        Made me laugh so hard!

        September 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  13. Cheddar

    I remember the advice to wash chicken came from 60 Minutes. There was a show years ago about chicken processing plants and an expert said to wash the chicken before cooking.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  14. glenview0818

    This is just about the worst cooking advice I have read in a long time. I rinse off raw chicken.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Steve

      I've never rinsed a piece of clean-appearing chicken in 35 years of cooking it. Never been sick. Not gonna start rinsing it now.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Bill

        Clearly, washing chicken is not unhealthy as well. Washing chicken certainly didn't shorten Julia Childs life now did it.......
        Been washing chicken myself since we used to butcher our own in the early 50's. Have not gotten sick. Grandfather butchered his own cattle and poultry, lived to 96.
        So whether you wash or not really is a moot point.

        September 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Steve

          Exactly. I'm not going to tell people to stop washing their chicken.

          September 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • me


          September 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • rebecca

        Exactly. I've never washed chicken in my life because it doesn't really accomplish anything except to spread the pathogens around. Any that are on the chicken in the first place (salmonella, c. perfringens, staph aureus) will be killed in cooking. No need to get them all over the sink, faucet or counter by rinsing/washing the chicken.

        September 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Paul Hart

    These are bad guidelines. You should always rinse chicken.

    Theres a difference between cleaning and sterilization. This only addresses sterilization, but its not addressing the cleaning. Is it ok to mop the floor and just skip over the sweeping part? No matter how good the bleach is, your still going to have dirt on the floor.

    What if there is blood or feces on the chicken? You'll kill the germs when you cook it, but you'll still be eating the cooked blood and feces.

    It's good advice for careless people the don't give post food prep cleaning its due diligence. But for those who are concerned with what they are ingesting and are willing to clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces after cooking, continue to wash your chicken.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Steve

      Cooked blood is good nutrition.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • D&C

      I wouldn't take health advice from the USDA anyway. Nor from the FDA.

      I agree with you.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  16. iRex

    I wash whole chickens not because of the contamination I can't see on it....

    September 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  17. cessie

    Raw chicken is placed in colander in sink, packaging to garbage. Cold water on low stream runs over chicken. All fat,
    extra skin, membranes and assorted yuck removed to garbage. Chicken left to drain, then placed on paper towels. SINK knife. poultry shears and colander spritzed with ammonia water, hot water and immediately into dishwasher. Wash my hands well and dry with paper towels. If coating I use paper bowls/plates and dispose in garbage. Any turning forks are spritzed w/ammonia water and placed in dishwasher. Again wash hands and dry with paper towels.Then cook and enjoy. What is the big deal?

    September 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jon

      Do the environment a favor and just cook the chicken.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  18. bence

    Soak your chicken in salt water cleans and takes away that smell

    September 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  19. Jan

    I brine my chicken so I have to wash it or it will be to salty

    September 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  20. Wolfgang

    The CNN website headline was misleading. I thought the article was about giving pet chickens a bath. They should have put a picture of a plucked bird instead of living one with the article. I was tricked!

    September 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • KIMMYLB2003


      September 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  21. skiharry

    Doctors recommend not washing. but choking the chicken prior to cooking at a moderate temp to kill bacteria.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • ser


      September 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Don't play with ur food

      If it's a dirty bird I take it out back and put the garden hose to her.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  22. B33tle

    Wash and rinse the chicken, using a mild detergent containing rosemary and other herbs, using gentle cycle. Then place in dryer on high. Figure an hour per pound. Chicken should be dry (and very tender) when done.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm |

    I wash whole chickens before cooking but not usually chicken pieces like wings or drumsticks. And any beef or pork that was packaged in cryovac gets rinsed off. I also prep the meat on a tray on a sheet of butcher paper that then gets thrown in the freeze until trash day. Not saying I'm right it's just how I do it. I haven't poisoned anyone...yet!

    September 10, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  24. JH79

    I had never heard of washing chicken until I saw a friend of mine doing it the other day. I was always taught to handle raw meat as little as possible and cook thoroughly to kill all the germs. And of course clean all nearby counters in case any germs were hitching a ride on the packaging.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  25. Mamagacho

    I wash and wax my chicken daily.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  26. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I shower with Cornish Game Hens and bathe with pork chops. Nice and clean.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  27. Obejoyful

    Best way to prevent turning your kitchen and your body into a bacteria/fecal contamination zone is to avoid chicken (and beef and pork and all other animal products) altogether . . .

    September 10, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • RMB

      What about the bacteria present in flour? Or on leaves?

      September 10, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Adam

      Yup, never any recalls for spinach, cantaloupe, or other fruits and vegetables that were contaminated or killing people..........oh wait, yes there have.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • KIMMYLB2003


        September 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  28. Sal Monella

    Next we supposed to stop washing our hands after using the bathroom because we splash fecal-dirty water?

    September 10, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • KIMMYLB2003

      OK????? LOL

      September 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  29. bs1

    I most certainly wash chicken and any other meats in my kitchen, and I certainly recommend everyone should. I also recommend that everyone should wash and sanitize all surfaces in their kitchen regularly as well as after handling raw meats on them so there should never be an issue of cross contamination unless your kitchen is filthy.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  30. Lobelia

    What about brining poultry, which is increasingly popular? If the experts believe washing a chicken can do more harm than good, they likely believe the same about brining. After brining, there is a bucket of salty contaminated water that needs to be dealt with, just as if the bird had been washed rather than brined. No way are the experts going to dissuade people from brining their poultry.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • alan.

      Actually, brining can kill off bacteria. Remember salt is a preservative. Its not as safe as cooking, for sure, but the brine itself will prevent bacterial growth... why do you think cucumbers were brined before taste? (you know.. those pickle things)

      September 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Chris R

      No, brine your chicken all you want. What the CDC, USDA, FDA, and lots of other people who do this for a living are saying is that rinsing a chicken will likely lead to splashed water, contaminated by the bacteria on the chicken, cross contaminating other surfaces and utensils in your kitchen. Brining is fine as long as the brine and meat is kept in your fridge.

      September 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  31. Brenda Dugan

    Back in the day when Ma and Pa washed the bird it wasn't contaminated with e-c. Now that it is we're supposed to change? That's backwards. Why not change the way our meat is processed? What ever happened to the USFDA?

    September 10, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  32. Seve

    Wash away. Packaged raw meats can contain slaughterhouse crud, bits of entrails and feces, all of which one does not want to eat, even if it has been sterilized. Just make sure you use common sense and you diligently clean up afterward.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Robert

      Agree 100% – until the day comes that a chicken is 100% clean when it comes out of that bag it's always going to get a quick rinse.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • another1

      Kitchen faucets have quite a lot of pressure, and washing poultry with water flowing at full speed will splash the bacteria all over the place. When I wash raw meats, I always am sure to adjust the water pressure way down, almost to,a,trickly, before I place any meat near the water. This way I can wash the meat safely without splashing bacteria all over the place. In other words, just use common sense.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • perennial2

        Reading difficulties?
        Lightly rinsing off factory slaughterhouse industry crud down the drain =\= turbo blasting liquids all over the kitchen.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • wadej420

      ah yes if you wanted to eat all the gross stuff you have a burger

      September 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  33. chicken monster

    you would wash your meat if you knew what the butcher boy was doing to it before you see it!

    September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  34. Robert

    This is just another one of those dumb science articles.

    "Don't wash it because you might contaminate other objects."

    Well, DUH. You're going to do that anyways simply by touching the raw chicken.

    If washing chicken "splashes" nasties all over the kitchen then it seems pointless to wash your hands since it might do the same thing!

    I wash my chicken because I don't want the nasty blood and innards to become part of what I am cooking.,

    September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Robert

      And the Chinese have been doing this for thousands of years – they do it with all meats prior to cooking – it helps remove the taste of butchering, blood, and other nasties that don't get removed during processing.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  35. CSSBI

    It is always a good idea to wash your "meat".... Its not a matter of size its how you prepared it!

    Let's be realistic it, if you are washing and you splash around all over the place you have bigger issues... Do it the right way and you will be a happy cook.

    Washing is NOT an art, we teach children to do this correctly, so take what you have learned and apply it.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  36. Vegann

    Consuming chicken (or any meat for that matter) should be criminal. Eat it and you get what you deserve, washed or not.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • JP

      If you have a cat or dog, do you feed them only vegetables also?

      September 10, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Vegann

        Forcing an animal to live domestically is barbaric.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • weezer

          Man has been domesticating animals for over 15,000 years (some say the dog was domesticated in 30,000 BC).

          How long have you been around?

          Oh - and all vegans have cats - domesticated in 8000 BC. Get rid of your cat, hypocrite.

          September 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • klshapiro2013

        Actually, that is correct. Our dog is a large healthy and happy hound who can only eat kibbles that are from vegetables such as Blue Mountain makes.. Other dog food with animal by products give him stomach and intestinal distress, however most people don't realize there is vegetarian dog food.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • RJ

      Why would a vegan bother to read an article about MEAT? Obviously so they can criticize and judge other people about how they live their lives. You go eat your grass and tree bark. I'm going to go ahead and have a steak. LIVE AND LET LIVE!

      September 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • wadej420

      Of coarse, veganism is the true answer to all of this and the majority of the health problems and decimation of our world. but attacking people with hate just angers the naive.

      September 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Stayed Awake in Science Class

        I prefer attacking these idiots with an axe. It's much more effective.

        June 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
  37. Scott Jones

    I wash chicken (really just rinse gently), avoiding splashing. I then brine the chicken, and clean all the counter areas that might have had contact with any drips with antibacterial soap. I do all this because I like to remove any bone fragments and blood, as well as the previously mentioned slimy residue that seems to be on many cuts of meat when it is direct from the package. Pork and beef cuts, especially saw cuts through bone, always seem to leave bone fragments. I think that as long as good cleaning practices are used during preparation, that should be sufficient.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  38. SixDegrees

    I don't really know how they process chickens in detail, but it must involve some sort of power washing, because they are incredibly clean by the time the hit the store. This is in comparison to a lot of hand-butchered birds I've purchased, which – to not be very delicate about it – have had noticeable gobbets of poo stuck to the bird, and often well smeared. I'm told this is common in Europe, as well, and a couple of cooking shows from there confirm that, well, chicken poo is everywhere. So the original advice to wash probably comes from a time prior to today's more extensive hosing. Nothing spoils a nicely served roast chicken like a blob of chicken poo encrusted on it.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  39. Todd

    When I cook my chicken I make sure it is fully cooked. What is washing going to do to the pathogens that 30 minutes at 350F can't (Heat and length varies on recopies and size).

    September 10, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  40. E Michelle

    My mom had her own catering business and my father was in Restaurant/Hotel Management. For years they told me to do this..."Wash the meat first!" When I read another article (about 2 years back) about this same thing I stopped doing it. The dishrack is in too close of proximity for my taste and the thought of salmonella sitting in my cupboard...ewww.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Judy cone

      I read somewhere that the liquid in the package of raw chicken is called "fecal soup". I rinse all raw chicken.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  41. Mike

    What a useless article. If you have even half a brain you already know raw chicken MAY contain some levels of bacteria that can be harmful. So the key is to be cautious when handling it. I wash mine all the time because I don't trust the processing facilities to be clean and I don't want to cook my chicken without rinsing off whatever filth is on it. The key is to wash down any surfaces your chicken may come in contact with. That has always been common knowledge. Don't cut your raw veggies on the same cutting board you just had your raw chicken on. Pretty simple folks.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  42. delishdlites

    I will always wash meat because that whole slimy feeling just grosses me out.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Uncle Creepy

      That's just the afterwash, honey. Don't be scared ...

      September 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  43. annmartina

    I stopped washing my chickens after seeing Julia Child & Jacque Pepin argue about it on one of their shows together. Jacque doesn't wash his chickens and neither do I.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Irony Police

      I would neither use that as my guide or admit to it if I did. The French don't wash ANYTHING – food or otherwise.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  44. M.E.

    Thanks but no thanks. Just don't wash the chicken with a full-tap sprayer that gets everywhere. Run moderate water and hold the meat low enough that it won't splash everywhere. Also, cleaning as you cook to keep things sanitary is a good idea.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  45. Acee

    Koshering Jewish practice has handed down through generations the soaking & salting of chicken/meat unless broiled which nowadays is done by any kosher butcher. Unsoaked & salted meat would be labeled. As a personal preference, prior to making chicken soup, poultry must have any guts removed, and blood, which necessitates my pouring boiling hot water over the chicken before putting the chicken into a pot where the water is also boiling with soup greens already in it. This is the practice I have used all my adult life. I then attend to the stainless steel sink which I proceed to wash with liquid dish soap and very hot water, as well as any surface the chicken package might have touched. If concerned about transference of bacteria use wet paper towel and soap instead of a sponge.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Mr Clean

      Where's the bleach?

      September 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  46. Arthur in the Garden!

    I disagree! This is like saying washing your hands spreads germs around. I need to see some studies that prove that washing chicken or veggies or any food increases the risk of infection.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Chris R

      You mean the advice and warnings provides by the CDC and USDA don't hold any water in your world?

      September 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • Arthur in the Garden!

        Yep, remember they said back in the 50s that cigarettes were healthy!

        September 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  47. The Chef's Last DIet

    Reblogged this on The Chef's Last Diet and commented:
    Please stop washing your chicken!

    September 10, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  48. Brad

    I wish chicken, fish and pork because I think it makes it taste better. I notice that those three always have a film on them that washes off. I think the food taste better without that film. Who knows, maybe it is just the placebo effect, but I like it.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Irony Police

      Do you also wish salads? How 'bout upon a star?

      September 10, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  49. Not Me!

    Makes you wonder what ELSE you're doing that is considered "right" by society but really is a wasted effort.

    September 10, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  50. Thinking things through

    I rinse my chicken.

    Look, the only way you are going to contaminate surfaces with the chicken water is if you wave the thing around your kitchen afterwards, or if you bathe it with the faucet going full force so it splashes everywhere. Or you then wash your veggies for your salad without first washing your hands thoroughly. (I never put food down directly in the basin of my sink. Ever. The dishes that end up there get fully cleansed before being used again.)

    Sheesh. Common sense, folks. Wash your chicken if you wanna...

    September 10, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • JellyBean

      You da mn Skippy.

      September 10, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • A Funny, Funny Guy

      Thinking things through: "I rinse my chicken. "

      Hey! What you do on your own time is your business!

      September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • Brad

        I was wondering it that was before or after he choked the chicken.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • Thinking things through

          She. Wrong pronoun... ;

          September 11, 2013 at 7:30 am |
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