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Why Washing Chicken Before Cooking Is Unsafe

Like most people, you may believe that washing raw chicken prior to cooking is safe, or even prevents food-borne illness. In fact, the opposite is true.

“You should assume that if you have chicken, you have either Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria on it, if not both,” said food safety researcher Jennifer Quinlan, an associate professor at Drexel University. These two bacteria, she noted, are the leading causes of food-borne illness. “If you wash it, you’re more likely to spray bacteria all over the kitchen and yourself.” And the water you would use to rinse the chicken is not hot enough to kill bacteria, either.