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Should You Wash Raw Chicken?

Should You Wash Raw Chicken? Here's What Experts Say

Raw uncooked chicken legs marinated with with spices and ingredients ready for cooking

One of the most hotly debated questions in the culinary world is whether or not you should wash raw chicken before cooking it. Most recently, this exact subject came up during the Love Is Blind: After the Altar special when Cameron and Lauren had a playful spat about the topic. Although the couple had differing opinions, it turns out most food and nutrition experts and public health officials agree that you shouldn't wash raw chicken. In fact, doing this causes more harm than good.

Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition LLC told POPSUGAR the risks that come with washing raw chicken. "There is no need to wash raw chicken," she said. "In fact, washing raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria such as salmonella or campylobacter around the kitchen, which can potentially cause foodborne illness."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), individuals are putting themselves at risk of illness when they wash or rinse raw poultry for the same reason. The organization simply says: "The best practice is not to wash poultry."

Since raw chicken can be potentially dangerous when not prepared properly, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe when cooking poultry. Alissa Rumsey, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist and author of Unapologetic Eating, told POPSUGAR that using a separate cutting board and plate when preparing raw chicken is one the best things you can do to prevent bacteria from spreading. "Never put fresh produce or cooked food onto a cutting board or plate that raw chicken has been on," she said.

In addition to this, it's also important to make sure you cook chicken thoroughly to avoid any chance of foodborne illness. Using a food thermometer to ensure that a piece of chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F will let you know that your chicken is ready to eat. After cooking, be sure to put any leftover chicken in the refrigerator or freezer within one to two hours to prevent it from spoiling. Lastly, Rumsey recommends that you always wash your hands and any utensils or kitchen equipment that raw chicken came in contact with with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Image Source: Getty / Stefan Tomic
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