To wash, or not to wash? That is the question.
You might think that washing chicken before cooking it is a good idea. But what you could be actually doing is spreading Campylobacter all over the kitchen.
Here’s an infographic found on www.safefood.eu that shows why you should not wash raw chicken.
According to the CDC, Campylobacter – an illness that can be caught from poultry – is one of the most common causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. In the U.S., Campylobacter bacteria are estimated to infect 1.3 million people each year.
The bacteria are found on chicken carcasses and in commercial poultry products. People usually contract Campylobacter when they ingest contaminated food like undercooked poultry. The outside of poultry packaging may also be contaminated. So, be careful not to contaminate other objects after handling raw poultry.
Besides diarrhea, other symptoms of Campylobacter include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, and fever. It may also lead to arthritis, Gullain-Barre Syndrome (a form of paralysis), or even mortality in extreme cases. According to the CDC, approximately 76 persons with Campylobacter infections die each year.
You are likely to recover on your own without treatment within two to five days after you get infected. In case of diarrhea, nausea, or cramps, you should drink plenty of fluids to prevent becoming dehydrated.
So, what can be done to prevent Campylobacter infection?
• Recommended not to wash poultry
• Cook all poultry products thoroughly (minimum internal temperature of 165°F).
• Always wash your hands well with soap and water before and after handling any raw poultry.
• To avoid cross-contamination, carefully clean all cutting boards, countertops, and utensils with soap and hot water after preparing raw meat or poultry.
• Use a separate cutting board for produce and other foods.