Chicken... Here's how to clean it safely

18 May, 2022
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Chicken... Here's how to clean it safely

The NHS in the UK and the Food and Drug Administration in the US both advise against washing raw chicken, but recent research shows 25% of people still do so.

Washing can spread harmful bacteria from the chicken to foods or other utensils in the kitchen, and can put you at risk of food poisoning.

Food hygiene expert Adam Hardgrave said: "A lot of people think they should wash raw chicken, but there is no need. You will kill any germs on it if you cook it well."

However, if you insist on washing the chicken, new research has revealed the safest way to do so.

Physicists from Montana State University say keeping meat near the tap and under a constant flow of water reduces the risk of bacteria spreading. In their study published in Fluid Physics, they wrote: “The Food and Drug Administration recommends against washing raw chicken due to the risk of transmitting dangerous food-borne pathogens through water droplets. Many chefs continue to wash raw chicken despite this warning, however, there is a lack of Scientific research that evaluates the transmission of microbes in scattered droplets.

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The results showed that when the chickens were placed 15.7 inches (40 cm) under the faucet, 8.6 inches (22 cm) droplets of water scattered.

However, when the chicken was placed 6 inches (15 cm) under the faucet, the drops scattered 2 inches (5 cm) away. The flow of water also affected the spread of water droplets.

When he turned on the faucet with the chicken already under it, the first spurt of water sent droplets off. However, when the chicken was placed under the tap when the water was already flowing, the splash was reduced.

Overall, the results suggest that if you insist on washing raw chicken, you should keep the meat near the tap under a constant flow of water.

It is also important to thoroughly clean any nearby surfaces and keep any other raw foods away from the sink.

The NHS advises, "Pay special attention to keep raw food away from ready-to-eat foods such as bread, salad and fruit."

These foods will not be cooked before they are eaten, so any germs that may come into contact with them will not be killed.

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