The majority of people (including us) wash a raw chicken before cooking it, but we’re going to show you why you should never do it again.

According to studies, raw chicken contains harmful bacteria such as salmonella which is responsible for many cases of food poisoning. When we wash the chicken under a stream of water before cooking it, bacteria can spread around the kitchen and increase the risk of infections and food poisoning.

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan from the University of Drexel, Philadelphia, recently took part in a government-funded research on the subject, and the results were stunning.

According to Dr. Quinlan, 90% of people confirmed that they wash the chicken before cooking, which is the wrong approach of eliminating bacteria. “You’re not getting rid of bacteria; washing does not kill bacteria.

However, there is a high possibility that such bacteria will be sprayed by what is known as aerosolization,” she says.

What should you do?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, you should first wash your hands nicely and make sure that the meat doesn’t come in contact with other surfaces.

Cook the chicken any way you like, but make sure that the internal temperature is at least 73C. Once done, leave the meat to cool down and keep it in the fridge.

Drexel University recently launched a campaign called Do Not Wash Your Chicken which tries to break the habit in order to protect everyone’s health.

Symptoms of bacterial infection

Salmonella is a dangerous type of bacteria that can cause symptoms such as abdominal cramps, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. The recovery may only take a few days, but sometimes, salmonella can lead to bigger health problems.

The other type of bacteria present on raw chicken meat, campylobacter, can also cause diarrhea and similar symptoms and the infection may last for up to 10 days. Some experts claim that campylobacter can have long-term negative effects on our health such as Guillan-Barre syndrome and arthritis, although there’s no scientific data to back the claim.

As Dr. Quinlan adds, the side-effects of washing raw chicken before cooking it can be very dangerous: “Some people think they are destroying the germs. Some just want to stop feeling like they are dirty. There are several reasons, and among them they just feel they should do it. However, you’re not doing your health any good,” she says.

Besides avoiding washing your chicken before cooking, you should also keep it in a clean container in the fridge in order to prevent it from becoming contaminated.

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