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Survey: Do you wash your poultry before cooking?

FDA has advised against washing raw chicken for quite some time. Recently, a public health campaign has launched to warn against washing chicken, such as these videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8JzAA...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192C-i...

Julia Child and Jacques and Pepin have disagreed this point on their show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18kC4c...

This advise actually is not unique to chicken, but any form of meats (chicken, turkey, beef, pork...). This topic has been discussed a couple of times before, but I never get a real sense of how many people are doing it vs how many are not. For the interest of keeping the question simple, let's just focus on poultry: chicken, duck, goose, turkey...etc.

Do you wash your raw poultry before cooking?

A) Yes. I do all of the time or most of the time.
B) Sometime, about 50:50
C) No. I never do it, or I rarely do it.

Thanks for sharing.

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  1. C

    1 Reply
    1. re: magiesmom

      How is it possible that you answered the question quicker than I did?

      :)

    2. I will answer first.

      A) I wash my poultry almost all of the time. When I didn't, it is mostly because I forgot to.

      1. A

        1. C

          I've heard all it does is splash bacteria all around your sink, which you'd have to disinfect afterwards...I'd rather not

          2 Replies
          1. re: NanaMoussecurry

            I always do anyway, so washing isn't a real contamination issue

            1. re: NanaMoussecurry

              Having had a bout of salmonella from the chicken I purchased many years ago and was never in the habit of washing..

              I'll wash until the cows come home before I'd go through that again.

            2. C

              1. A

                1. B. I rinse whole chickens that have been soaking in blood and juice but I leave chicken parts alone.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Njchicaa

                    This.

                  2. B) When I buy one of those chickens that are sealed in plastic and have that bloody mess when you open the bag. Yes.Turkey.Yes

                    No if I purchase the air chilled chickens from W.F. No when I cook duck or quail.

                    1. C

                      1. A

                        1. C
                          Never. Don't want to risk splashing bacteria everywhere

                          1. c) Never, I use a fork to get them out of the package. Plastic gloves to dredge if need be. And then gloves and all go into the chicken container in the bag and right in the trash.

                            I don't want raw chicken juice in my sink.

                            1. I just read an article about all the bacteria in chicken, and it said absolutely not to wash it. That will actually spread that bacteria around further in places off the chicken. And you really can't wash that away. Best defense is proper cooking temp and handling.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wincountrygirl

                                I think the article authors don't think people are smart enough to properly disinfect contaminated surfaces. I know that I AM smart enough.

                              2. My Chinese Mom told me to always heavily salt the raw chicken for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly; hence, I have been doing this all my life without ever asking why. Recently, someone asked me why and we have come to the realization the salt may kill bacteria within the chicken. I do wipe down the counters with Clorox wipes after the chicken has been rinsed.

                                1. C, I guess. I only put it under water if there's a lot of slimy stuff and I'm peeling off the skin.

                                  1. C

                                    1. C.

                                      I only rinse when I am cooking a whole bird or whole turkey breast and it still has ice in the cavity - I'll rinse to get rid of the ice and be able to pry the packet out of the cavity.

                                      1. c) not any more

                                        My mom always washed poultry. I used to. About 10 years ago, I took a class at a local culinary school where the instructor sang the praises of air chilled chicken and told us not to rinse the poultry. I stopped rinsing and also started looking for air chilled.

                                        1. A/B

                                          I'm an intelligent adult and know how to clean my sink and surrounding areas, which I do all the time anyhow.

                                          1. A. I may not wash anymore after this thread though.

                                            1. A

                                              1. C

                                                1. Somewhere between A and B

                                                  1. A...always

                                                    1. Thanks. A preliminary result. 3 hours in and we already have 24 responds. Please let me know if I made a mistake in assigning your choice. Thanks.

                                                      Chemicalkinetics = wash A
                                                      critter101 = wash A
                                                      fourunder = wash A
                                                      i_am_Lois = wash A
                                                      masha = wash A
                                                      mcf = wash A
                                                      rinkatink888 = wash A
                                                      SIMIHOUND = wash A
                                                      foodieX2 = wash/5050 AB
                                                      weezieduzzit = wash/5050 AB
                                                      emglow101 = 50:50 B
                                                      Njchicaa = 50:50 B
                                                      jw615 = not wash C
                                                      King of Northern Blvd = not wash C
                                                      magiesmom = not wash C
                                                      MidwesternerTT = not wash C
                                                      miss_belle = not wash C
                                                      NanaMossecurry = not wash C
                                                      parkerjaxmollymo = not wash C
                                                      PegS = not wash C
                                                      smfan = not wash C
                                                      stockholm28 = not wash C
                                                      wincountrygirl = not wash C
                                                      WishyFish = not wash C

                                                       
                                                      1. C unless you count patting it down w/ a paper towel as "washing"

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                          No I don't, but I do count any rinsing or soaking as washing -- even if it is 1 seconds long. I will update your input later. Thanks.

                                                        2. I have resolved to do it no more. I only ever rinsed it out anyway.

                                                          C

                                                          1. C.

                                                            1. C.

                                                              I get my chickens whole from a local farmer, processed on site. Maybe I am reckless but I don't worry about salmonella because of the origin and progressing.

                                                              1. A...and laid out and covered with kosher salt for 1/2 hour.

                                                                1. C

                                                                  1. B. Depending on what it looks like.

                                                                    1. C used to , not since warnings a few years back

                                                                      1. B Whole poultry yes, pieces no.

                                                                        1. A
                                                                          Have always done it and always will.

                                                                          1. A

                                                                            1. C

                                                                              1. A

                                                                                How else to get rid of the remaining bits of pin feather and down?

                                                                                1. Historically - A
                                                                                  Since finding out that I have a FDA approved excuse not to - B
                                                                                  Don't think I'll ever become a "C'er" - too much time invested in learning how to turn on my faucet (dual lever type) with the back side of my hand when my palm side is "contaminated".

                                                                                  1. B. If I'm taking a whole chicken out of a sealed bag, I open it in the sink so the juice doesn't make a mess, and then rinse it off. I don't bother to wash chicken parts or breasts unless they were factory-packed.

                                                                                    1. C. We cook a lot of poultry, no one has ever gotten sick from it, so we're not looking to add another step along with risking the additional spread of bacteria.

                                                                                      1. B.

                                                                                        What's really important is to practice proper raw food handling with poultry in the kitchen. Make sure anything that came in contact with raw poultry are cleaned properly with hot soapy water and no cross contamination occurs with other parts of the kitchen (cooking utensils, sink, rags, sink and counter surfaces, cutting boards, etc.)

                                                                                        1. A
                                                                                          Always
                                                                                          Then I clean the area where it was washed with bleach.

                                                                                          1. C. I never do it

                                                                                            1. only if it smells funky

                                                                                              1. B - I wash whole chicken and turkey roasters, but not individual parts.

                                                                                                1. Update. 45 responds in 20 hours. Please let me know if I assigned you into the wrong category. By the way, it seems there are a few people who "wash whole chicken/turkey, but not wash parts". This contributes to quiet a few of the "50:50"

                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics = wash
                                                                                                  critter101 = wash
                                                                                                  fourunder = wash
                                                                                                  i_am_Lois = wash
                                                                                                  latindanccer = wash
                                                                                                  masha = wash
                                                                                                  mcf = wash
                                                                                                  pavlova = wash
                                                                                                  PHREDDY = wash
                                                                                                  rinkatink888 = wash
                                                                                                  Sam D. = wash
                                                                                                  SIMIHOUND = wash
                                                                                                  wattacetti = wash
                                                                                                  foodieX2 = wash/5050
                                                                                                  weezieduzzit = wash/5050
                                                                                                  autumm = 50:50
                                                                                                  Bryan Pepperseed = 50:50
                                                                                                  emglow101 = 50:50
                                                                                                  jbsiegel = 50:50
                                                                                                  Kajikt = 50:50
                                                                                                  LotusRapper = 50:50
                                                                                                  Njchicaa = 50:50
                                                                                                  sedimental = 50:50
                                                                                                  biondanonima = not wash
                                                                                                  cleobeach = not wash
                                                                                                  fldhkybnva = not wash
                                                                                                  howaboutthat = not wash
                                                                                                  jaykayen = not wash
                                                                                                  juliejulez = not wash
                                                                                                  jw615 = not wash
                                                                                                  King of Northern Blvd = not wash
                                                                                                  magiesmom = not wash
                                                                                                  MidwesternerTT = not wash
                                                                                                  miss_belle = not wash
                                                                                                  NanaMossecurry = not wash
                                                                                                  parkerjaxmollymo = not wash
                                                                                                  PegS = not wash
                                                                                                  saltylady = not wash
                                                                                                  smfan = not wash
                                                                                                  stockholm28 = not wash
                                                                                                  sueatmo = not wash
                                                                                                  TeRReT = not wash
                                                                                                  wincountrygirl = not wash
                                                                                                  WishyFish = not wash
                                                                                                  zackly = not wash

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  1. A, but gently. no need to use a water-pik on it

                                                                                                    1. A

                                                                                                      1. The poll results are starting to converge.

                                                                                                        *47% of you rarely or never wash your poultry before cooking
                                                                                                        *34% of you usually or always wash the poultry
                                                                                                        *19% of you sometime wash

                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics = wash
                                                                                                        critter101 = wash
                                                                                                        Ewflash = wash
                                                                                                        fourunder = wash
                                                                                                        i_am_Lois = wash
                                                                                                        kmcarr = wash
                                                                                                        latindanccer = wash
                                                                                                        masha = wash
                                                                                                        mcf = wash
                                                                                                        pavlova = wash
                                                                                                        PHREDDY = wash
                                                                                                        rinkatink888 = wash
                                                                                                        Sam D. = wash
                                                                                                        SIMIHOUND = wash
                                                                                                        wattacetti = wash
                                                                                                        foodieX2 = wash/5050
                                                                                                        weezieduzzit = wash/5050
                                                                                                        autumm = 50:50
                                                                                                        Bryan Pepperseed = 50:50
                                                                                                        emglow101 = 50:50
                                                                                                        jbsiegel = 50:50
                                                                                                        Kajikt = 50:50
                                                                                                        LotusRapper = 50:50
                                                                                                        Njchicaa = 50:50
                                                                                                        sedimental = 50:50
                                                                                                        biondanonima = not wash
                                                                                                        cleobeach = not wash
                                                                                                        fldhkybnva = not wash
                                                                                                        howaboutthat = not wash
                                                                                                        jaykayen = not wash
                                                                                                        juliejulez = not wash
                                                                                                        jw615 = not wash
                                                                                                        King of Northern Blvd = not wash
                                                                                                        magiesmom = not wash
                                                                                                        MidwesternerTT = not wash
                                                                                                        miss_belle = not wash
                                                                                                        NanaMossecurry = not wash
                                                                                                        parkerjaxmollymo = not wash
                                                                                                        PegS = not wash
                                                                                                        saltylady = not wash
                                                                                                        smfan = not wash
                                                                                                        stockholm28 = not wash
                                                                                                        sueatmo = not wash
                                                                                                        TeRReT = not wash
                                                                                                        wincountrygirl = not wash
                                                                                                        WishyFish = not wash
                                                                                                        zackly = not wash

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. c--the heat from the oven or flame from the stove top or grill will kill the germs. No need to wash the meat.

                                                                                                          1. Chemicalkinetics - A suggestion: See the Cookbook of the Month voting threads for a "Survey" technique you might use if you ever do this type of question again. Simply post the 3 possible answers and ask folks to click "recommend" on the one they use. You get a count as well as a list of who responded, and folks can still post comments with their explanations.

                                                                                                            1. C

                                                                                                              1. B - only when the packaging seems unusually juicy/bloody...I'm not a 5yr old, and have been able to keep splashing confined to the sink for some time now

                                                                                                                1. A

                                                                                                                  1. I used to be an A, but after watching the videos from the FDA campaign, I have become a C. There was one video in particular where they used a dye on the chicken to show the spread of the bacteria in the aerosol. Yuck! And washing isn't getting rid of the bacteria on your chicken anyway, just spreading it around. I've found that my prep time and cleanup time have both decreased quite a bit since I've stopped washing, too.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                      What the hell are they washing the chicken with- a fire hose?

                                                                                                                    2. C

                                                                                                                      Especially with chickens contaminated with antibiotic-resistant salmonella these days.

                                                                                                                      1. C

                                                                                                                        But judging by some of the behaviour I read about on here, I expect a lot of people would think me a criminally negligent housekeeper/cook, anyway.

                                                                                                                        1. C

                                                                                                                          1. A

                                                                                                                            1. Always. Especially since I usually buy packaged pieces, and I hate the "slime" and juice that accumulates if it sits in my fridge for a day or two. I almost never buy a whole bird, and rarely get to WF or anywhere else to buy fresh. If I did, then I wouldn't rinse.

                                                                                                                              1. This is the final result. Thanks for your participation.

                                                                                                                                57 responders.

                                                                                                                                49% of you do not or rarely wash your poultry
                                                                                                                                33% of you always or usually wash
                                                                                                                                18% of you sometime wash

                                                                                                                                alwayshungrygal = wash
                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics = wash
                                                                                                                                critter101 = wash
                                                                                                                                Ewflash = wash
                                                                                                                                fourunder = wash
                                                                                                                                i_am_Lois = wash
                                                                                                                                kmcarr = wash
                                                                                                                                latindanccer = wash
                                                                                                                                masha = wash
                                                                                                                                mcf = wash
                                                                                                                                pavlova = wash
                                                                                                                                PHREDDY = wash
                                                                                                                                pinehurst = wash
                                                                                                                                rinkatink888 = wash
                                                                                                                                Sam D. = wash
                                                                                                                                SaraAshley = wash
                                                                                                                                SIMIHOUND = wash
                                                                                                                                wattacetti = wash
                                                                                                                                foodieX2 = wash/5050
                                                                                                                                weezieduzzit = wash/5050
                                                                                                                                autumm = 50:50
                                                                                                                                BiscuitBoy = 50:50
                                                                                                                                Bryan Pepperseed = 50:50
                                                                                                                                emglow101 = 50:50
                                                                                                                                jbsiegel = 50:50
                                                                                                                                Kajikt = 50:50
                                                                                                                                LotusRapper = 50:50
                                                                                                                                Njchicaa = 50:50
                                                                                                                                sedimental = 50:50
                                                                                                                                AmyH = not wash
                                                                                                                                biondanonima = not wash
                                                                                                                                C. Hamster = not wash
                                                                                                                                cleobeach = not wash
                                                                                                                                fldhkybnva = not wash
                                                                                                                                howaboutthat = not wash
                                                                                                                                jarona = not wash
                                                                                                                                jaykayen = not wash
                                                                                                                                juliejulez = not wash
                                                                                                                                jw615 = not wash
                                                                                                                                King of Northern Blvd = not wash
                                                                                                                                magiesmom = not wash
                                                                                                                                MidwesternerTT = not wash
                                                                                                                                miss_belle = not wash
                                                                                                                                NanaMossecurry = not wash
                                                                                                                                Palladium = not wash
                                                                                                                                parkerjaxmollymo = not wash
                                                                                                                                PegS = not wash
                                                                                                                                pine time = not wash
                                                                                                                                saltylady = not wash
                                                                                                                                Shrinkrap = not wash
                                                                                                                                smfan = not wash
                                                                                                                                stockholm28 = not wash
                                                                                                                                sueatmo = not wash
                                                                                                                                TeRReT = not wash
                                                                                                                                wincountrygirl = not wash
                                                                                                                                WishyFish = not wash
                                                                                                                                zackly = not wash

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                  Interesting.....nicely done, Chem

                                                                                                                                2. C

                                                                                                                                  Everyone who thinks their cleaning is so thorough should watch the linked video. They spread a lotion that glows under black light all over raw chicken and found that not only were hands still dirty after repeated washings but cutting into the chicken sprayed juice 6-10 inches from the cutting board.

                                                                                                                                  http://www.wzzm13.com/news/specials/1...

                                                                                                                                  Don't wash your chicken. You can't wash off bacteria anyway.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: berkleygirl

                                                                                                                                    There is a big problem with that very unscientific demonstration. Many, many common things will fluoresce (glow) under a black light. What they really needed to do was inspect the kitchen, and Fran, before starting the experiment and eliminate those first. As it stands now we can't be sure if the "contaminated" spots were present before the chicken was even brought into the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                      Yes, there should be a control of inspecting the kitchen before introducing the "contaminated" chicken. Nevertheless, I find the the concept of simulating cross-contamination in this way to be intrigueing. I'd never heard of it before.

                                                                                                                                  2. C.

                                                                                                                                    1. A

                                                                                                                                      I have a small prep sink next to where I keep my cutting board. I always use a bowl. Once there has been chicken in the bowl, I whip out a new bowl. Oh, and I only buy kosher chicken, so it's always already salted.

                                                                                                                                      1. C)Never
                                                                                                                                        As the great Chef Jacques Pepin said to the late great Julia Child "if bacteria can survive 40 mins in a 375 deg oven, it deserves to live" or something like that :)

                                                                                                                                        1. C. I get my poultry from my local butcher, and it's pristine in the packing. If I had to buy it from the supermarket, I would rinse it. That slimy stuff looks pretty nasty. My kitchen is constantly being disinfected and washed down, so if all I had was the supermarket stuff, I'd be okay with rinsing it off. I have a pull down faucet, so that eliminates any real splash if I don't have the water full on.

                                                                                                                                          1. Four C's and an A since the final result. Personally,I can't see why I would wash more, when I could justify washing less.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                              That was my exact argument, but in this thread those who answered A kept saying how smarter they were.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: NanaMoussecurry

                                                                                                                                                Which begs the question; what defines "smarter"?

                                                                                                                                                To be fair; I have had some serious, but not life threatening GI distress.