The Centers for Disease Control explained that washing raw meat can spread germs throughout the kitchen

By Helen Murphy
May 03, 2019 03:03 PM

Think twice before you turn on the faucet to wash off that raw meat.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a stern warning against washing raw chicken and other meat, explaining that it can spread germs throughout the kitchen.

In a tweet posted last week, the CDC wrote, “Don’t wash your raw chicken! Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen.”

Three days later, in response to some skepticism from Twitter users, they released a follow-up post that read, “We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken! But it’s true: kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it. You shouldn’t wash any poultry, meat, or eggs before cooking. They can all spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!”

According to the CDC, raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella or Clostridium perfringens bacteria.

Eating raw or undercooked chicken, as well as food or beverages that were contaminated by raw chicken or its juices, could lead to food poisoning.

By washing raw chicken in the sink, the CDC explains, it’s possible that germs from the uncooked chicken could end up spreading all over the kitchen — contaminating the sink, other surfaces, utensils or dishes with these bacteria.

The CDC also recommends using a separate cutting board to cut raw meat, and to “never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board or other surface that previously held raw chicken.”

Make sure your hands are clean, too — the CDC recommends washing hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw chicken.