Butchering chicken: the danger of infection during cooking

Health experts do not recommend washing raw chicken under running tap water in a washer before cooking, as the carcass can transmit harmful bacteria.

That is, when cooking, according to a study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you need pay special attention to safety. And there is a way that science approves.

In a recent study published in the March journal Physics of Fluids, US researchers placed raw chicken under taps and watched water droplets and bacteria spread to nearby surfaces. dikaiologitika.gr.

The results varied greatly, depending on certain factors. For example, the height of the faucet under which I wash the chicken causes more water to dissipate. If water hits a chicken breast or thigh from a height of 40 cm, germs spread further than if the water jet is 15 cm from the carcass.

In tests with the highest faucets, water droplets rose into the air to a height of more than 22 cm, infecting most of the surrounding kitchen space.

With low-lying faucets, the water dispersion was only about 5 cm high, and signs of contamination of nearby surfaces were relatively small. The researchers also found that if a chicken accidentally “turned off” (plugged) the faucet while washing, the polluted water sprayed to the sides.

It is also important how soft the carcass will be. Water, falling on a soft bird, creates small dimples on the surface of the skin, from which drops are ejected further than they would have happened if the skin of the chicken had not been deformed. A small trickle of water (without strong pressure) reduces dents in chicken skin and subsequent spread of microbes.

Raw chicken can be contaminated with salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria. Even small splashes of water when washing a carcass contaminate the sink with germs that can spread and then come into contact with other foods and hands.

Expert opinion

“Instead of telling people not to wash chicken,” says Scott McCalla, a mathematician at the University of Montana and co-author of the study, “we can advise housewives to do it more carefully and safely.” So the expert advice for reducing contamination from washing raw chicken in the washer is to:

  • quickly rinse the carcass,
  • minimize the distance between the tap and the chicken,
  • open the water slowly and gradually to avoid splashing on adjacent surfaces, clean dishes and cutlery,
  • regularly disinfect all kitchen surfaces.



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