Culinary Pro Shares Top Safety Tips To Handle Raw Poultry

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a warning after a new study revealed that rinsing raw poultry puts people at risk for spreading germs that cause foodborne illness.

The USDA study found that “of the participants who washed their raw poultry, 60 percent had bacteria in their sink after washing or rinsing the poultry. Even more concerning is that 14 percent still had bacteria in their sinks after they attempted to clean the sink.”

Further, it concluded that “26 percent of participants that washed raw poultry transferred bacteria from that raw poultry to their ready to eat salad lettuce.”

When the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC tweeted a similar warning in May that washing raw chicken was bad, some home cooks were shook.

CDC tweeted:

”Don’t wash your raw chicken! 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! 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!”

SEE ALSO: Experts Warn Of The Health Implications Of Unwholesome Meat Processing In Nigeria

So, in order to understand the best practices for poultry prep., a chef and educator from the Institute of Culinary Education, Palak Patel, break it all down.

Why is it unsanitary to wash a raw chicken?

Washing raw chicken can cause bacteria on the chicken to splash and cling to clean surfaces, including your hands, causing cross-contamination. Cut out any steps of washing chicken from the recipe entirely.

Just cooking poultry thoroughly eliminates harmful bacteria and pathogens.

What’s the safest way to handle raw chicken?

The safest way to handle raw chicken is to prevent raw poultry and its juices from touching other foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Before and after handling raw poultry, be sure to wash your hands, surface, knives, tools and cutting boards with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds.

Where chicken is placed in the fridge and freezer is important as chicken juice has a tendency to leak outside of its container. This can cause contamination if it comes into contact with your produce or cooked food.

Place chicken package in a bag or remove and place it in a container. Alternatively, place it on a plate, then cover it — and always store it on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

How can one ensure a raw chicken is properly cleaned and sanitary?

After buying chicken, store it at a proper temperature in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. If the chicken is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and not on the kitchen counter. At room temperature, chicken and raw meat can develop harmful bacteria.

Use thawed chicken within 48 hours and do not put it back into the freezer after defrosting.

Pre-prep all ingredients, including chopping and pre-heating pans, before handling raw chicken.

Pro Tip: Invest in two separate cutting boards, one for meat only and another for produce. Use tongs to handle raw and cleaned tools for cooked meat.

Don’t wash the chicken, but wash your hands before and after handling chicken. Limit handling raw food as much as possible during prep and cooking.

Once the chicken is cooked, the risk of food poisoning is gone, but if there is any cross-contamination during cooking, there is still a risk for illness from consuming the raw produce.

It’s not safe to refreeze chicken that has been defrosted.

SEE ALSO: Must Read: Twitter User, Anna Marie, Exposes Shocking Details Of How Nigerian Street Foods Are Breeding Organ Failure And Cancer

The best ways to safely cook chicken

To cook chicken evenly, prepare a chicken breast by pounding it to achieve even thickness. Place chicken breasts on a sheet of plastic wrap, cover them with another sheet of wrap and give them a few whacks with a kitchen mallet, focusing on the thicker end.

There’s no need to beat them thin, just even them out a little. Start with patting chicken dry — you’ll get a much better sear and a better chance of getting that nice golden color. Dry surfaces ensure a seal from the outside to keep juices inside, keeping the chicken juicy.

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