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Washig chicken increases food poisoning risk--thoughts?

amyzan Jul 25, 2010 12:28 PM

Having been raised in America, I was taught to always rinse chicken, whole or parts. This, not just by my mom and grandmother, but also from meat department clerks and butchers. Now this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/hea... Having read it first on David Lebovitz' facebook page, I can't say I'm surprised by this bit of news. But, I always thought the risk of food borne illness was the reason to rinse. The article seems to be indicating that it's more people's method that causes the risk--drips on counters, etc. So, I'm going to give the no rinse rule a go.

What do you do, and what were you taught? If you were taught to rinse, did you learn later it wasn't necessary? Where did you learn otherwise?

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  1. Kagemusha RE: amyzan Jul 25, 2010 01:17 PM

    Splattering chicken spew all over your sink, counters, dish towels, self, dish cloths/sponges and collateral cookware is an open invite to cross-contamination. I buy it fresh as possible, either cook it or freeze it quickly and thaw safely. No issues--ever.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha
      Firegoat RE: Kagemusha Jul 25, 2010 01:45 PM

      I don't think I've ever washed chicken parts. Whole chickens, yes, and yes after brining a whole chicken.

      1. re: Kagemusha
        scoopG RE: Kagemusha Jul 25, 2010 03:50 PM

        I agree. There is no need to rinse chicken or turkeys.

      2. m
        mliew RE: amyzan Jul 26, 2010 01:09 PM

        From a food safety perspective rinsing isn't going to do anything. You're not going to be washing off any bacteria unless you are using soap in which case you probably wouldn't want to be eating the chicken afterwards.

        However, I usually rinse my chicken to remove any blood/coagulated chicken juice that the chicken might be covered with after sitting in the packaging.

        1. C. Hamster RE: amyzan Jul 26, 2010 01:50 PM

          The USDA has long warned AGAINST rinsing chicken and meat.

          There's no reason to anyway unless its got a lot of gunk on it.

          1. amyzan RE: amyzan Jul 26, 2010 06:52 PM

            This makes me wonder where meat dept. clerks and butchers I've talked with over the years got their information. I even had one person at a national chain which shall remain unnamed tell me to soak chicken in an antibacterial bath in the sink. I just ignored that little bit of overkill. I mean, aren't these people ServSafe trained?

            So, where do you all think all the misinformation originates? This all strikes me as a little bizarre, since I seem to have been deluded all these years, and lots of other people supported the delusion...

            6 Replies
            1. re: amyzan
              C. Hamster RE: amyzan Jul 27, 2010 08:35 AM

              "I even had one person at a national chain which shall remain unnamed tell me to soak chicken in an antibacterial bath in the sink."

              Just ass salt and sugar and you'll have a tempting germ-free brined bird in only a few hours.

              1. re: C. Hamster
                Cachetes RE: C. Hamster Jul 27, 2010 08:37 AM

                I'm not even sure what to say, but I am laughing out loud right now.

                1. re: Cachetes
                  alkapal RE: Cachetes Jul 28, 2010 07:22 AM

                  um...yeah! ;-).

              2. re: amyzan
                512window RE: amyzan Jul 27, 2010 09:48 AM

                I don't know about the misinformation, but I always figured washing the meat was a regional thing. Did you grow up in the south? I've known cooks from the south who washed meat, but never any from other regions of the US who did.

                1. re: 512window
                  melpy RE: 512window Jul 27, 2010 10:01 AM

                  We only every washed poultry and pork. Never beef.

                  1. re: 512window
                    amyzan RE: 512window Jul 27, 2010 03:38 PM

                    That's intereting. I grew up in Lexington, KY, which has pretensions of being southern, but was typically suburban in the 1970's. I spent ten years in North Carolina, and two years before that in Texas. So, you may have something there, 512window.

                    C. Hamster, I tend to dry brine whole birds a la Judy Rogers recipe. But, yeah, that suggestion from the meat counter clerk was wacky.

                2. dave_c RE: amyzan Jul 27, 2010 10:06 AM

                  Bacteria spread up to a 3 ft radius? Wow! What are these people doing? Holding up the chicken and spraying with the sink sprayer?

                  I use the sink and bathe my chicken. This allows me to wash the bag juices, pull out partially plucked feathers, remove cavity fat and scrape off the yellowish film on the skin. Give the chicken a visual once-over.

                  Next, I transfer to a paper towel lined steel bowl for drying.

                  I don't think the issue here is whether it's right or wrong to wash chicken.

                  The real issue is cross-contamination. If people are smart about it, they could reduce that 3 ft radius easily by a half.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: dave_c
                    buttertart RE: dave_c Jul 27, 2010 01:25 PM

                    That's what I do, in a big bowl in the sink, not the sink itself. I always dig out the kidneys (the red goopy stuff either side of the backbone a few inches up from the vent) because I think they taint the taste of the meat. My mama said so anyhow. I'm not about to bang the chicken in the oven with those in there.

                    1. re: dave_c
                      amyzan RE: dave_c Jul 27, 2010 03:42 PM

                      Dave, that's pretty much the method I'd been using. I don't know if it holds true in all parts of the US, but here, I find birds aren't processed quite as well as I'd want to serve it. There are usually pin feathers, bits of organ inside that will flavor the meat, and that yellow membrane that while it keeps the bird fresher during storage, really needs removal before roasting, IMO.

                      1. re: dave_c
                        alkapal RE: dave_c Jul 28, 2010 07:23 AM

                        yes, they are picking up the water-rinsed chicken, holding it above their heads, and swinging it around shouting, aaaaIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!

                        1. re: alkapal
                          dave_c RE: alkapal Jul 28, 2010 08:26 AM

                          Stay Tuned for the new Fox TV show, "Xena: Warrior Princess of the Kitchen."
                          "The most shocking episode ever!"

                          1. re: dave_c
                            buttertart RE: dave_c Jul 28, 2010 08:27 AM

                            The Julia Child program with the fowls of all shapes and sizes being propped up and Julia-handled would give the food police conniption fits!

                            1. re: buttertart
                              dave_c RE: buttertart Jul 28, 2010 09:07 AM

                              Julia Child had a sense of humor. BTW... That French Chef episode is on YouTube. :-)

                            2. re: dave_c
                              alkapal RE: dave_c Jul 28, 2010 08:27 AM

                              "see the eruption of salmonella all over fellow contestants!"
                              "experience the cross-contamination!"

                              ...."just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen."

                        2. JoanN RE: amyzan Jul 27, 2010 01:46 PM

                          In "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I" Julia says that if you must wash the bird, do so quickly under cool, running water. But she says the French never do; they think it destroys the flavor and hastens spoilage. I first read that more than thirty years ago and haven't rinsed a chicken since.

                          1. s
                            Shaw Oliver RE: amyzan Jul 28, 2010 07:43 AM

                            You have to understand where most rules and instructions come from and who they apply to: the lowest common denominator. These lowly people are the reasons there are stupid instructions on the most obvious things like "remove wrapper before eating" or something like "remove sleep mask before driving". If you are careful and you are simply rinsing away excess blood, etc. you're going to be fine, just be aware that you can splash water around and you should clean up afterward.

                            "But, I always thought the risk of food borne illness was the reason to rinse."

                            As mliew stated, if you're cooking the chicken thoroughly, it shouldn't matter in the slightest. You think rinsing the chicken on the outside is going to do anything in terms of bacteria on the inside on the meat? Nope. How would simply rinsing a raw chicken eliminate bacteria? If that worked then surgeons would simply rinse their hands with water before surgery, and chefs would do the same after going to the bathroom and then handling your meals.

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