WATCH: YouTubers spark debate over whether or not to wash chicken before cooking it

Should you wash chicken? Picture: Pexels/Karolina Grabwoska

Should you wash chicken? Picture: Pexels/Karolina Grabwoska

Published Apr 5, 2024


Chicken is a great ingredient for meals; for example, store-bought rotisserie is the dinnertime hero.

Many cooks were taught to wash and clean produce before cooking as children. So it is only natural for people to wash meat before cooking it, especially chicken.

However, in the medical science community there is consensus that washing chicken is not recommended.

This comes after content creators Joey Wellness and Dominic DeAngelis took to Instagram recently to prepare chicken in two ways (washed and unwashed) to taste the different results between the two.

Their video sparked debate over whether or not chicken should be washed before it is cooked.

One user wrote: “People washing fruits and vegetables but not washing dead flesh is incredibly mind-blowing.”

A second user wrote: “Washing it has a higher chance to spread salmonella.”

A third commented: “Gross! Don’t wash your chicken. You’ll have pathogen-full splatter all over your kitchen. Just place it in a mix of ACV and water and let it soak.

“Put it in the freezer afterward. Then when you’re ready to cook it, thaw it out in the fridge and parboil it so that it’s cooked on the inside.”

A fourth asked: “What is being washed off the chicken exactly?”

Despite the overwhelming number of individuals who argued raw poultry needs to be rinsed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once advised consumers against it.

CDC issued an emphatic reminder to home cooks about how to prevent food poisoning while cooking chicken.

"Don't wash your raw chicken!" the organisation tweeted in 2019. "Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen."

"We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken!" the CDC wrote in a follow-up tweet.

"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!"

— CDC (@CDCgov) April 26, 2019

Wondering how you should clean the chicken before cooking it?

The heat from cooking and boiling the chicken is enough to kill harmful bacteria. However, if you are still anxious, you can try some alternate cleaning methods too.

Research reveals that using salt, vinegar, or lemons to clean the raw chicken can be helpful. Scrub the surface of the chicken with a half-cut lemon.

You can also rub salt on the chicken and leave it covered in a clean utensil inside the refrigerator for an hour.

Additionally, using traditional Indian spices like turmeric, which possesses natural antibiotic properties, also eliminates bacteria.