Don’t Wash Your Chicken.
That’s the straightforward name of a new food safety campaign initiated by New Mexico State University and Drexel University. Researchers there have determined that the age-old advice from knowledgeable cooks such as Julia Child, James Beard and the Rombauers (of “Joy of Cooking” fame) is, well, dead wrong.
Over the years, many of us have followed what we thought was a process that improved the safety of our raw meats. Before cooking them, we’d remove them from the package, rinse them off in the sink, and pat them dry before proceeding with a recipe. Now, it has been determined that washing chicken (and, according to the USDA, pork, beef and other meats) does absolutely nothing to protect us from foodborne illness. In fact, it makes it more likely that we will make ourselves and our families sick.
Why? Because the act of washing raw meats only serves to splatter raw meat juices and germs all over the sink, counters and ourselves. If you aren’t convinced, check out this creepy animation. The only way to kill harmful bacteria on raw meats is to cook them.
I heard this advice a couple of years ago and have not washed chicken in a long time. It was refreshing news to me. I never liked having to go through that step anyway. Plus, patting all this meat dry with paper towels is just a waste of paper towels. Of course, depending on what you’re doing with the meat (such as breading), you may still find it helpful to pat away some of the juices.
What are you thinking as you read this blog entry? Have you been rinsing raw meats or did you give that up a long time ago?