Please don’t give your chicken a bath!

We’re just going to put this out there right away: When you buy a chicken from the grocery store, you don’t need to wash it.

If you’ve ever washed your chicken, don’t feel too bad. One of the world’s most beloved chefs, Julia Child, believed in washing poultry. While we don’t make a habit of questioning the wisdom of The French Chef, she wasn’t alone in her misconception. Until a few years ago, many chicken recipes suggested rinsing the meat before cooking.

Raw chicken could contain bacteria, and research has shown that washing raw poultry increases the chances that foodborne pathogens could be spread. Think about how many times you did the dishes and splashed all over your clothing, nearby surfaces, and equipment in the kitchen. Now, pretend those soapy splashes contain foodborne pathogens.

What bacteria might like my chicken?

Bacteria are everywhere, and most are harmless or even beneficial to humans, but some can make you sick. The most common bacteria that could be found on raw chicken is Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Anyone can get a foodborne illness, but children younger than 5 years of age, adults over 65, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at a higher risk for serious issues as a result of consuming certain pathogens.

How else can I prevent foodborne illness?

Between 15 and 30 buck buck bucks will get you a digital thermometer with more computing power than NASA’s Apollo Mission. An instant-read, digital food thermometer that measures internal temperature is the best way to determine if chicken has been cooked all the way through. That will destroy harmful bacteria, and, as a bonus, will help you make sure the meat is perfectly cooked every time.

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