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May 1, 2007 02:05 PM

Should I rinse meat?

I don't normally rinse meat before I cook but my friend suggested that I should. How many of you do?

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  1. I usually do - often there is some blood and I like to rinse the meat and then dry it very well with paper towels.

    1. I usually rinse whole chickens and any meat that has been vacuum packed for long periods of time - like lamb etc.

      However I would love to hear a more certain opinion on this one.


      8 Replies
      1. re: daily_unadventures

        Rinsing chicken and poultry is a bad idea. It spreads e-coli around your sink and the area around the sink.

        Occasionally, I will rinse red meat if I see visible bone particles from the saw but otherwise I do not.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          I was just talking about this with the guy at the meat counter at Whole Foods. I normally rinse my chicken, but he told me exactly what you're saying - I'm just upping the chances of food sickness. If you plan on cooking the chicken (don't know about meat) the normal amount (advised, obviously) then you probably shouldn't wash it. So from now on no washing of chicken for me.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            "...Rinsing chicken and poultry is a bad idea. It spreads e-coli around your sink..."

            If an item is contaminated in any way, would you not wish to rinse and leave the offence on the counter and sink rather than ingest the pathogens? There is more than just e-coli present on the surface.

            1. re: DockPotato

              The heat from proper cooking kills just about anything lurking on the surface. The point made above is that limiting contact with kitchen surfaces helps to prevent spreading the funk around.

              1. re: mojoeater

                Wow thanks for the info! No more poultry washing for me!


                1. re: mojoeater

                  wow, how about washing out your sink? It's something I do after I've rinsed my poultry.

              2. re: KTinNYC

                I thought you usually get salmonella from poultry and e-coli from from cow feces?

                I wash all my cuts of meat before cooking, let them sit in a colander (that gets sent through the dishwasher after every use) to dry while I prep other things. I usually don't like the dank smell of meat that has been sitting in it's own liquids for a few days in those styro trays or sealed bags.

                All my utensils, such as, cutting boards, knives(cheap Kiwis), tongs (I use these for handling meat quite a bit so I don't have to contaminate my hands), etc. gets sent through the dishwasher or gets washed by hand right away.

                I'm very big on NO cross-contamination. Meaning, prepping veggies first, meats last on cutting boards. I also own many multiples of my favorite tools. Knives, thongs, cutting boards, steel prep bowls, etc. So basically I have everything sorta "mise en place" before I start cooking.

                After handling all the raw meats I spray and wipe down all contaminated surfaces....sink, faucets, counters, cabinets, fridge handle, etc. I figure all the kitchen surfaces need a wipe down every few days anyhow. Keeps my kitchen sparkling.

                1. re: rilkeanheart

                  You are right. The most common pathogen from chickens would be salmonella not e-coli.

              1. I used to rinse chickens, but I recently saw a study report that indicated this INCREASES the possibility of food borne illness.

                I now rinse, and dry, only meats already imbued with icky liquids from inside their packaging. Other meats, and especially freshly cut meats, I leave alone.

                1. You only need to rinse meat if you are:
                  a) Going to grind hamburger meat yourself--E.coli, when on the outside of meat, is killed by cooking (heat) but if you grind it up, what was the outside is now the inside. E.coli comes from feces which can contaminate meat during slaughter, so it's really only a problem on the outside of raw meat and in ground meat (which is often not cooked enough in the center to kill the bacteria.)
                  b) have pieces of bone-in meat that were cut with a bonesaw and might have tiny particles of bone on them like oxtails, osso buco, etc.

                  Otherwise, cooking will kill any bacteria.

                  I also will usually rinse chickens inside and out just because they're often pretty wet and usually have some blood on them. You won't be spreading e.coli--which is an uncommon contaminant in chickens.

                  I usually rinse vacuum-packed meats too, since the "purge," or liquid released is pretty sticky, unsavory stuff.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Regan B

                    You cannot just rinse the E. Coli off if your meat is contaminated- both because of the nature of E. Coli (it clings) and the nature of muscle (lots of fibers to cling to). If you're concerned about contamination in ground meat you want to eat rare, sear it, then grind it.

                    1. re: Coconuts

                      there is also the concern that rinsing the meat splashes contamination around where it didn't exist prior.

                      you're also rinsing flavor down the drain.