People Are Debating Whether You Should Wash Raw Chicken Before You Cook It

The internet is debating whether you should wash your raw chicken before cooking it, and now experts have weighed in...
Credit: Alamy

The question of whether you should wash raw chicken before you cook it has sparked a fierce viral debate this week.

People who love to cook have some pretty strong opinions. But perhaps the strongest revolve around food hygiene.

No one wants their cooking to make people sick – but there are some kitchen practices that truly divide the amateur chefs.

And this week, TikTok is in uproar over one simple question.

Should you, or should you not wash your raw chicken before cooking?

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Zoe Barrie (@zoebarrie) posted a video, which has now reached over 3.4m views, showing her prepping a chicken for roasting.

She dabbed it with a paper towel, but didn’t put it under water – and many people were shocked.

“Wait, no wash?” one TikTok user asks.

While another person questions: “Um, did you wash it first, though?”

“Don’t you rinse before cooking?” someone else questions.

However, others were on Barrie’s side.

“Washing chicken is as stupid as washing your bread,” one individual writes.

“These washing meat comments are sending me. Y’all are so silly,” another woman remarks.

Halogen oven with chicken cooking
People are debating whether you need to wash raw chicken before cooking it. Credit: Alamy

The discussion then spread to the Slow Cooker Recipe & Tips Facebook page.

“I’ve never washed any meat or poultry in my life,” one person points out, adding. “I’m still standing here typing this answer and I’ve never been sick from not washing meat or poultry… Soooo.”

“No need to wash,” says another. “Cooking will kill any bacteria. Just make sure you wash your hands and anything the chicken touches.”

Somebody else replies: “I’m in the southern part of the US, I’ve never washed mine. I have read about people doing it though.”

However, some others thought otherwise.

“I’ve always washed my chicken as taught by my mum,” one shares.

Another person adds: “I wash it just to get a slimy feeling off and any feathers off which is not common now but still happens time to time.”

Well, luckily, we now have the answer…

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As per the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS): “Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended because bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. The results of a recent USDA observational study showed how easy bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitised after washing poultry.

“Rinsing or soaking chicken does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.”

The Minnesota Department of Health confirms this, adding: “Washing chicken, even with a slow stream of water, can cause dangerous germs to splash from the raw meat onto other surfaces. These germs can then get onto other foods, like lettuce, that will not be cooked to kill germs before eating.”

Yes, it turns out that washing chicken isn’t just ineffective in removing germs, but it can actually aid in the spread of germs throughout your kitchen!

@zoebarrie spatchcocked roast chicken ftw 😤 (crispy chicken ib cooking school and samin nosrat & lemon chimichurri ib me) #roastchicken #salt ♬ Wes Anderson-esque Cute Acoustic – Kenji Ueda

Stay safe out there, folks.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.