If you're washing raw chicken before cooking it, you're doing it wrong, according to the CDC.
The CDC posted a tweet last week that prompted a big reaction:
Many Twitter users who responded said the CDC was wrong in suggesting this.
HOLD UP, RIDICULOUS! This is for “less than clean” people who don’t disinfect properly! The CDC’s job is to prevent the spread of disease, NOT teach you food service management. While I agree with their assertion, it does not absolve us of the FULL responsibility of food safety.— Trina Hill (@tapestrywell) May 1, 2019
The CDC responded to the tweets, saying: "We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken! But it’s true: kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it. You shouldn’t wash any poultry, meat, or eggs before cooking. They can all spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!"
Here's what the CDC says about handling chicken:
Americans eat more chicken every year than any other meat. Chicken can be a nutritious choice, but raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria. If you eat undercooked chicken or other foods or beverages contaminated by raw chicken or its juices, you can get a foodborne illness, which is also called food poisoning.
That’s why it’s important to take special care when handling and preparing chicken.
- Place chicken in a disposable bag before putting in your shopping cart or refrigerator to prevent raw juices from getting onto other foods.
- Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling chicken.
- Do not wash raw chicken. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.
- Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken.
- Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surface that previously held raw chicken.
- Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item.
- Use a food thermometerExternal to make sure chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F.
- If cooking frozen raw chicken in a microwavable meal, handle it as you would fresh raw chicken. Follow cooking directions carefully to prevent food poisoning.
- If you think the chicken you are served at a restaurant or anywhere else is not fully cooked, send it back for more cooking.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken within 2 hours (or within 1 hour if the temperature outside is higher than 90°F).