To wash or not to wash your meat before cooking

Deb Balzer

THE STAR/ /MAYO CLINIC NEWS NETWORK/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE – When it comes to food safety in the kitchen, it’s important to keep your work area clean from bacteria and the possibility of cross-contamination.

It’s best to use hot, soapy water to wash utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces you use, especially when handling raw meat and poultry.

But what about washing raw meat and chicken before cooking?

“It’s important to remember to wash your hands frequently, keep food at proper temperatures and cook meats to proper temperatures to avoid any foodborne illness,” said Mayo Clinic clinical dietitian Anya Hill.

Rinsing vegetables to rid them of loose grit or lingering dirt helps reduce germs.

But when it comes to meat and poultry, that’s another story.

“Some people think they are supposed to wash their meats and chicken before cooking.

“I recommend not washing them because that puts you at risk for spreading the bacteria around your kitchen and around yourself,” she advised.

Cooking raw chicken straight from the package is safe, said the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This is as modern food safety systems have been greatly improved.

Bringing meats to their pro-per temperatures will destroy any foodborne illness.

Chicken and all poultry products are safe to eat at 73.9 degrees Celsius. Beef and lamb should be cooked to 62.8 degrees Celsius, and ground meats are safe to eat at 71.1 degrees Celsius.

By following a few simple tips, you can feed those you love the food you love – safely.