Filipinos love chickens, for many reasons, but mainly for food. Chicken meat is way less expensive than pork or beef, and healthier to eat as it is considered as low-fat food that provides an impressive amount of high-quality protein. But do you know that raw chicken is often contaminated with pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens? Eating undercooked chicken, or anything contaminated by raw chicken and its juices can lead to food poisoning. That’s why it’s important to take special care when handling and preparing chicken.
One of the most talked about food safety practices in handling raw chicken was recently tweeted by U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Don’t wash your raw chicken! Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other foods or utensils in the kitchen.” Based on the article of Neogen Corporation, many Twitter users fired back at CDC, casting doubt on the idea that washing isn’t sufficient for getting rid of bacteria. Others vehemently insisted that washing raw chicken is the common practice, and they weren’t interested in shifting gears. Some pointed to homemade remedies believed to provide a more thorough cleaning effect, like soaking the raw meat with lemon juice, vinegar or saltwater (though these ingredients do not kill bacteria, according to science).
Yet according to Marianne H. Gravely, spokesperson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed it,” as told to BuzzFeed Food.
Instead of washing raw chicken, the CDC and other agencies urge consumers to simply make sure they cook their chicken to a suitably hot temperature before eating, which will kill any foodborne bacteria. Chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 73.88°C to be safely eaten — not even washing with very hot water can accomplish this.
Reference: CDC, Neogen Corporation
Photo credits: forbes.com