HEALTH

Why you should not wash raw chicken before cooking

Washing chicken does not remove pathogens.

In Summary

•Washing chicken does not remove any pathogens

•Have two separate cutting boards, one for fresh produce and one for meat. Then clean them with warm soapy water after use and ensure they are completely dry before use

spring chicken glazed with ginger and teriyaki sauce served with pineapple fried rice, chili oil and red cabbage slaw.
spring chicken glazed with ginger and teriyaki sauce served with pineapple fried rice, chili oil and red cabbage slaw.
Image: FILE

The festive season is just around the corner, and people are excited to prepare appetising meals for family and friends.

The Centre for Disease Control has, however, warned against washing poultry (duck, chicken and turkey) as splashing water from washing poultry under a tap can lead to spread of food borne illnesses.

The CDC estimates that 1 in every 25 packages of chicken at the grocery store are contaminated with salmonella.

This bacteria is common in chicken and a person can get sick from contaminated chicken if it is not cooked thoroughly or if the juices leak in the fridge or countertops.

Research shows that people, do not properly sanitize and clean the sink after washing poultry

“Most people just rinse the sink with water alone. This makes the sink a source of cross-contamination of food and other vegetables which are most likely to be rinsed in the same sink,” CDC says.

It then recommended washing cutting boards, utensils, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water before and after you prepare the dish.

Then washing the sink with hot soapy water and finishing off with a commercial all-purpose sanitizer afterwards.

Thoroughly disinfect your sink after abd before food preparation
Thoroughly disinfect your sink after abd before food preparation
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

“Food is very sensitive. After handling the poultry and getting in contact with the juices, make sure to wash your hands with soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds, to reduce the chances of spreading the pathogens,” Wincate Wangari, a Nutritionist told the star.

“ Washing chicken does not remove any pathogens, the best and only way is ensuring the poultry is fully cooked, a temperature above 100 degrees.”

She said one should avoid eating chicken that has blood or it’s not fully cooked.

“Ensure you know the spaces you have the poultry as some restaurants can land you a serious food poisoning. If you encounter poultry that is not well cooked, just send it back for more cooking to be on the safe side, “she said.

Wangari recommended storing the chicken in the freezer at home and using a disposable bags; to keep raw juices from getting onto other foods.

“Also have two separate cutting boards, one for fresh produce and one for meat. Then clean them with warm soapy water after use and ensure they are completely dry before use,” she said.

Lastly the CDC recommends refrigerating or freeze leftover chicken within 2 hours, even if it is cooked, as it's no longer safe to eat until it is heated up again.