What do you mean, don’t rinse the chicken? We’ve always been taught to rinse chicken or turkey before cooking, haven’t we? Well, actually, NO. The USDA has long recommended against washing poultry before cooking. And most hygienists will concur that rinsing raw chicken actually increases the possibility of food contamination. Yet an estimated 90% of American families persist in this dangerous ‘rinsing roulette’.
While common sense may dictate that rinsing washes away salmonella or other disease-causing microbes, common sense has got it all wrong in this situation. First of all, it isn’t very effective at removing bacteria—and worst of all, it sprays potentially contaminated water droplets around the kitchen. Some harmful organisms can survive for days or even weeks on faucets, countertops, the refrigerator handle, etc. They cause cross-contamination when other foods (or your fingers) touch the invisible hot spots. If you don’t believe me, then summon up the courage to watch this NBC News video.
Do you really want to protect against those nasty poultry bugs? Then cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F and always use a meat thermometer when cooking poultry. High temperature—not rinsing—will ensure that the bird is safe. Our suggestion: try cooking an unwashed chicken. If it tastes any worse than your rinsed version, then you are welcome to return to your game of rinsing roulette.