WASHINGTON, D.C.– According to a study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), rinsing raw poultry is putting consumers at a greater risk of spreading illnesses.
“Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears said in a statement released Tuesday.
The USDA study shows that “of the participants who washed their raw poultry, 60 percent had bacteria in their sink after washing or rinsing the poultry.”
The study says 14% still had that bacteria in their sinks after they tried cleaning up after their meal prep.
Finally, the USDA says 26% of the people who rinsed their raw chicken spread illness-causing bacteria to their meal’s side item during the cooking/prepping process.
Instead of rinsing raw chicken, the USDA suggests these three steps for preventing the spread of food-borne illnesses.
- Prepare all foods that don’t require cooking (salads, raw vegetables) BEFORE handling raw chicken.
- Then, cook all meats to a safe internal temperature (beef and pork 145°; ground meat, 160°; and chicken, 165°)
- Finally, thoroughly disinfect any area that might have been touched by raw meat or chicken.