What do you do before cooking a chicken – wash it under a tap? If so, you’re not alone. Even some of the world’s most revered cooks – from Martha Stewart to Julia Child – have recommended washing a chicken before cooking it. But as food safety researchers at Drexel University in the US have shown, it does way more harm than good.
What happens when you wash a chicken?
We all know that raw chicken is bad news. It’s full of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. But when you wash a chicken under a cold tap, you’re not actually removing any of the bacteria, you’re just spreading it.
When the water hits the surface of the bird, it sprays off onto your hands, clothes, and the surrounding surfaces, thereby transferring all the dangerous bacteria from the poultry to these places. Here’s a video of what happens to all the germs when you wash a chicken. (Watch all the green stuff – that’s germs, spreading from the chicken to your hands, apron, shirt, work surface, paper towels.)
So how do you get rid of the germs?
Simple. You cook it. Do this properly and you will get rid of all the germs you tried to get rid of but simply ended up spraying around the kitchen with cold water.