Health warning: why raw poultry should never be washed

Health warning: why raw poultry should never be washed

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Health experts warn: Do not wash raw poultry meat

Sometimes it is advised that poultry meat should be washed thoroughly before being cooked in the pan or in the oven. Health experts strongly advise against this. Because when washing, pathogenic germs can spread in the kitchen.

Campylobacter on chicken meat

"Turkey meat contaminated with germs", "Pathogens found in chicken legs": Such headlines have been read over and over again in recent years. The bacteria found are often "Campylobacter". These can cause serious health problems. The dangerous pathogens can be killed by heat. However, washing the meat with water is not recommended. This is what the UK health authority points out.

Bacteria can spread during washing

Cookbooks often say that poultry meat should be washed before cooking. The British health authority NHS (National Health Service) explicitly warns against this approach.

Because if the poultry is kept under the tap, the spray water can spread Campylobacter, which is often on the meat, to sponges, chopping boards, knives, etc. across the kitchen surface.

A few of these rod-shaped bacteria are sufficient for an infection, according to the NHS.

Campylobacter is said to be the leading cause of food poisoning in the UK. Around 50 percent of the poultry sold in the UK is contaminated with these bacteria.

Infections can be dangerous

Campylobacter can cause infections that include symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

In rare cases, complications from Campylobacteriosis can also be Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease of the nervous system.

In immunocompromised patients, a chronic course threatens and in the worst case the infection can reach life-threatening proportions. A food infection can be particularly dangerous for older people.

Observe hygiene rules

The health authority therefore points out that special attention should be paid to kitchen hygiene for poultry meat.

Raw chicken should always be covered and kept in the refrigerator at the bottom, so that any escaping liquid does not drip onto other foods.

Kitchen utensils such as knives, cutting boards and fittings must always be cleaned thoroughly after preparing poultry. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards so that the bacteria do not spread.

Always heat meat sufficiently

The most important thing, however, is that the meat is always well cooked, because this is the only way the pathogens die.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) writes on its website: "Heat poultry and meat dishes sufficiently until the escaping meat juice is clear and the meat has turned whitish (poultry), gray pink (pork) or gray-brown (beef)."

According to the experts, 70 ° C must be reached inside the food for at least two minutes. If in doubt, the temperature can be checked with a meat thermometer.

Cold is not enough to kill the germs: "The freezing of food reduces the number of Campylobacter, but does not kill it enough," says the BfR. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Chicken Washing (May 2022).