Chicken: These are the dangers of washing it
Washing the chicken (External source)
Many people may think that washing chicken is good. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Washing chicken raw increases the risk of food poisoning.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has long warned that washing chicken before cooking increases the risk of campylobacter bacteria spreading on hands, work surfaces, clothing, and kitchen utensils from splashing water droplets.
However, many people still make the same mistake.
When you put the chicken under the tap, it is usual that it splashes everything around. In this way, the bacteria can pass into our body through, for example, a knife that we had near the sink.
Not everyone thinks about this. According to the FSA, 44% of people in the UK wash chicken before cooking it.
The most cited reasons for doing so were to remove dirt or germs or because they had always done so.
Campylobacter enteritis is one of the most common causes of food poisoning—especially when traveling, which has led to it being known as traveler’s diarrhea.
Usually, the infection is due to raw poultry, fresh vegetables, or unpasteurized milk consumption.
This bacteria is spread by eating or taking infected foods and, according to MedlinePlus, can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
How to remove bacteria from chicken
“Chicken naturally has a certain amount of bacteria and the best way to eliminate them is through the cooking process,” explains Microbiology Professor Uelinton Pinto, from the Center for Food Research at the University of São Paulo (FoRC-USP), in a recent interview with BBC Brazil.
According to the expert, the key is to cook meat and eggs well. Ideally, the heart of the food should reach a temperature of at least 70 °C. This ensures that most of the microorganisms have been eliminated. One way to make sure is by using specific thermometers for cooking.
Suppose, despite this recommendation, you would like to wash the chicken before cooking it. In that case, it is essential to do it very carefully without opening the faucet too much to avoid splashing nearby objects.
Sequelae of infection
Most people are only sick for a few days, but it can lead to long-term health problems.
Irritated bowel syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome, which attacks the peripheral nervous system, can arise due to infection with this bacterium.
It can also lead to death. The people most at risk are children and older adults.
Usually, the treatment for infection with this bacterium is to drink plenty of water; eat small portions of food during the day rather than large amounts at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; eat a diet high in potassium, as well as eat salty foods.
However, each case may vary, so it is always recommended to visit the doctor.