Washing your chicken before cooking it could make you sick. …Wait, what?

chicken germ vision

Did you know that washing your chicken before cooking it is bad? Or, at least that is according to Dr. Jennifer Quinlan of Drexel University Failure. According to Dr. Quinlan, washing your chicken before cooking it could cause for a lot of bacteria in your kitchen and on your person. You see, washing your chicken does not get rid of bacteria on the chicken nor does it make it any cleaner than it already is. All it does is spread germs all over the place.

We’re not sure how many households will adopt this technique of not washing the chicken before it goes into the pot, because a) it sounds like stupid advice and b) when folks are used to a certain method of doing things, it’s going to be difficult for them to change. So the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign has been launched to convince you:

Personally, I’m still going to wash my chicken because it’s raw and it is what I’m used to doing. Seasoning a chicken and dropping it in a pot without washing feels unsanitary despite how wrong correct this method is. On the flip side, if not washing is the safest method, then hopefully we who are used to the old ways of doing things will eventually get our thick heads out of the sand and make a difference within our household before someone gets infected by a nasty germ.

Let us know in the comments below if you plan on continuing to wash your chicken before cooking it.

[via Drexel NOW]

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  • Emrys

    My (Sainted) Grandmother washed our chicken and cooked it correctly. She lived to 101 years old. I cook my Cornish hen the same way but prefer chutney with my fowl.

  • Rick

    Not taking safety advice from someone who works at “Drexel University Failure”. I can fail just fine without help, thankyouverymuch.

  • Ashraf

    [@Eric989] That is what she said.


  • Eric989

    Hmmm. No matter how much you wash your chicken it is still going to be a dead animal.

  • RealBull

    Come on. I think this whole bacteria scare is nonsense. I’ve never heard of an epidemic of people dying from washed or unwashed chicken. I’ve heard of people using lemon juice or vinegar to wash their chicken which makes more sense to me. I rinse my chicken and then salt it. Salt kills germs. Then it goes into a hot oven. High heat kills germs.

  • Godel

    I wouldn’t bother washing the outside, but it might be worthwhile rinsing out the chicken’s cavity with a 50:50 solution of water and vinegar, and leaving it for a minute.

    There is a reason that cooked chickens are often “salmonella central”. The cavity won’t always reach adequate temperatures to kill off all the wildlife.

    For the same reason, experts suggest cooking stuffing outside the chicken or other poultry.

  • Dirk

    I just unpack and put it in the oven (hot air ciculation) 200° – 190°C approx 1 hour.
    Well cooked, very juicy and paperthin golden brown skin. No seasoning.
    65 still alive & kicking. Cant remember having seen any bacteria on my plate.

  • MarkQ

    Absolutely! No chicken in the “kink bowl”! ;-o)
    And, yeah, I agree 100% about the sink bowl.

  • Ashraf

    Don’t wash my chicken? Bah, I don’t even cook my food. Ashraf eats his meat raw. RAWR

  • BR


    In the kink bowl?????

    In the SINK bowl.


  • BR

    Dear me … NOT to wash it is deeply unsanitary.

    I say this as someone who’s grandparents used to raise and slaughter their own chickens and as someone who has worked on chicken farms as a spotty faced youth.

    The problem here is that the good doctor was actually saying that the spray from washing the raw chicken can carry over several feet from the sink.

    This is certainly true if you let a stream of water flow down from the faucet and then splash everywhere, like a 10 year old having fun at water play kind of thing.

    The trick is to first SOAK a quartered raw chicken in a sink with water in it to make the remnants of any feathers, bird and/or dog and cat crap as well as general yard dirt lose and then gently scrub it all off under the water in the kink bowl BEFORE a rinse under gently running water at the bottom of the sink, not up high up in the air, so the water fountains over everything.

  • Coyote

    [@JonE] Germs and bacteria yes, chemicals and other foriegn substances like n.n stated no. As for washing, do it over the sink, then wash your hands… unless your playing water polo with the chicken I don’t see how the whole kitchen would be contaminated.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    My dad taught me to rinse chicken, but I don’t consider that to be washing. There is no scrubbing involved, just a quick rinse under the tap in the kitchen sink.

    Rather than telling people not to wash their chicken, a better approach would be to reinforce the importance of properly cleaning your sink, counters, utensils, hands and anything else that contacts raw meat.

  • JonE

    Wash meat; never heard of such a thing. I do sometimes rinse poultry, but I’ve never washed meat.

    Cook poultry to 180º and you will be good to go; all germs and bacteria will be goners.

    Cook other fresh meat to at least 165º.

    Washing meat? Never heard of that.

  • stephan

    yes, I will be washing chicken.
    I consider Dr. Jennifer Quinlan to be trolling.

  • n.n

    It also removes blood, sediment, and other crud that may be present on the surface.

    As for spreading bacteria, they surround us. Perhaps in low concentration they play a role (i.e. stimulative) in the development of our immune system.