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Verify: should you wash your chicken?

The CDC says not to wash your chicken, but many on social media disagree

MICHIGAN, USA — It’s become the great chicken debate.  Should you wash your chicken before you cook it? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently tweeted, “Don’t wash your raw chicken.  It can spread germs from the chicken to other utensils in the kitchen.”  

After seeing the CDC's post, people who have been washing their chicken for years fired back.  Myrna Manners tweeted: “Sorry I follow the rules of my 92-year-old mother’s kitchen. They haven’t failed me yet!”

With so much commotion over the CDC’s recommendation, we decided to Verify whether the advice is accurate.  The organization is the leading health resource in the United States. But because so many people doubted the recommendation on social media, we reached out to two other experts. 

Our sources are the Food and Drug Administration and Werner Asbenger, the Program Director at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. 

The FDA conducted a poll of 4,100 people in 2016 and asked multiple questions about food safety.  Among them: whether the respondents washed their chicken.

A vast majority, 67%, said they do wash their bird before cooking it.  

The FDA agrees with the CDC, saying it is a bad idea and writing, “This practice is not recommended because food safety experts say washing does not destroy pathogens and may increase the risk of contaminating other foods and surfaces.”

Our other expert source, Werner Absenger from the Secchia Culinary Institute, showed us what happens when you wash your chicken.  He demonstrated how the water on the chicken splatters all over, including the other food nearby -- creating cross-contamination. If food is not cooked, it could carry salmonella. 

So, after talking with our two sources, we were able to Verify the CDC’s statement: Don’t wash your chicken before you cook it.”

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