Many people are washing the chicken with water before cooking it.
Anyway, this habit could result with severe health problems because the water could scatter the bacteria from your hands, clothes and chicken utensils onto the chicken (campylobacter, for example). In fact, water drops can fall as far as 50 cm in all directions and only several campylobacter cells can be enough to cause dangerous food poisoning.
This bacteria is one of the most common bacteria that is to blame for food poisoning which manifests with abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea. The first symptoms of this health problem start to manifest 2-5 days after you ingest the contaminated food. They last for 2-5 days and disappear without any particular treatment. In severe form, campylobacter infection could result with irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and miscarriage.
The children, older people and people with weak immune system are the most vulnerable groups, particularly the HIV and cancer patients.
Keep in mind that you will not eliminate any bacteria on the chicken if you wash it with water. The bacteria are destroyed during the cooking process if you do it properly, that’s the only way.
Some will say that freezing the chicken will eliminate the campylobacter, but the freezing process will do this partially. So, the cooking is the safest and the best way to eliminate this bacteria, if present.
Still, this is nothing new, a warning to increase the alertness against campylobacter food poisoning was issued after the results of a research by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) indicated that 44% of the Americans are continuing to wash their chicken before cooking it.
Prevent Campylobacter Poisoning
- Cover and Chill Raw Chicken
If you wish to reduce the risk of campylobacter food poisoning at minimum, you should cover your chicken and put it at the bottom of refrigerator. In this way you will avoid the juices to drip onto other foods or contaminate them.
- Don’t Wash Raw Chicken
You should know that cooking your chicken at high temperature will kill any bacteria and campylobacter is not an exception. By washing your chicken, you will scatter the bacteria around.
- Wash Used Utensils
You should also know that it is very important to keep your utensils, chopping boards and surfaces clean all the time. You must wash your hands well with soap and warm water in order to avoid scattering the bacteria around.
- Cook Chicken Thoroughly
Adequate cooking process is crucial for the elimination of campylobacter and reducing the risk of food poisoning. The chicken should be hot before serving. The meat mustn’t be pink or uncooked. Also, make sure the juices are running clear.