Monday, April 15, 2013

Do Not Wash Chicken, Beef and Pork Before Cooking It

A question I hear all the time: Do you wash chicken or beef before cooking it?

My answer is "no," and here's the reason why, courtesy of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service:

"Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal 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."