Should you wash raw chicken?

The temperature of this debate is quite frightening. Strangely there is a huge online debate about whether or not you should wash raw chicken.

It seems that the practice of washing chicken is much more common in the US, but people still do it here in the UK. So, we wanted to dig further into this and try to understand whether you should wash raw chicken, or can it be harmful to your health? 


Well, according to food health and safety experts, you should never wash your chicken because it significantly increases the risk of cross-contamination. 

Just imagine your raw chicken as a ball of pure poison. It is teeming with campylobacter or salmonella bacteria which, if untreated in humans, can cause extremely serious illness which results in (a very miserable) death.

Most people who wash their chickens think that they are washing away the germs and sliminess which cause disease, but in actual fact, it is more likely to spread the bacteria across the kitchen. 

The spray from your sink can go as far as 80cm – about an arms length – in every direction. The water that comes into contact with the chicken will ultimately become contaminated. Then if it is splashed, or spread by wet hands onto the countertops, the hand towel of clothes, then you’ve created so much opportunity for the bacteria to make you – or everybody else around you – sick. 

The key to preparing chicken is to ensure that the bird is cooked properly, and at the correct temperature. The minimum temperature at which to cook your chicken should be over 165 degrees. That will ensure all of the harmful bacteria is killed off, and it is very likely that you will not notice the difference.

Secondly, if you are handling or cutting the chicken. In that case, you should always ensure that you wash your hands with soap, wash any utensil that has come into contact with the chicken thoroughly and sanitise the worktops surrounding the chicken. It sounds like stupid advice, but take your rings off too. Those can protect the bacteria from the soap and harbour all those nasty chicken bugs.

So, should you wash your chicken? The answer is quite simply, no. 

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