Don't wash raw chicken, CDC says

CDC explains why you shouldn't wash raw chicken

(Rachel Been/Turner via CNN)

If you believe in washing your raw chicken before you cook it, you’re doing it wrong, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Washing raw chicken can spread germs from the raw chicken to other food and items in your kitchen, according to a tweet from a CDC official. 

People on Twitter weren’t having it. 

The CDC’s response to the tweets said, “We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken! 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 all spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!”

The CDC advises you take these steps when shopping, cooking and eating out to help prevent food poisoning: 

  • Place chicken in a disposable bag before putting it in your shopping cart or refrigerator to prevent raw juices from getting onto other foods.
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling chicken.
  • Do not wash raw chicken. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils and countertops.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken.
  • Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board or other surface that previously held raw chicken.
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If cooking frozen raw chicken in a microwavable meal, handle it as you would fresh raw chicken. Follow cooking directions carefully to prevent food poisoning.
  • If you think the chicken you are served at a restaurant or anywhere else is not fully cooked, send it back for more cooking.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken within two hours, or within one hour if the temperature outside is higher than 90 degress Fahrenheit.

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