Stop Rinsing Raw Meat Before Cooking It

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service suggested not rinsing your raw beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, or veal before cooking it.

The very reason you're rinsing -- which is to clean it -- is actually making the problem worse. It’s just increasing the risk of cross-contamination.

How come?

Germs are flying off your meats as you rinse them, latching onto the water molecules of the microscopic mist, and landing in your open mouth or nostrils, on the counters beside the sink, on your clothes, and around the kitchen.

Washing raw meats spreads germs like Salmonella and Campylobacter up to 3 feet away and could be responsible for the approximately 1.9 million cases of food-borne illness in the U.S. each year.          

Many people wash their meats, thinking it rinses off the germs, but studies say the best way to do that is to cook them. What's really important when it comes to safety is the final temperature of the meat. Cooking meat to 165°F kills all the bacteria on it whether you rinse it or not. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.

If you can't bear the idea of cooking meats without washing them, it's your prerogative to do so. Just make sure you sanitize your sink and anything in the splash zone afterwards. Then clean your hands with hot water and soap.

If you rinse meat because you hate the slimy juices in the bottom of the package, you can just blot it dry with a paper towel instead. Beside, the skin will cook up much crispier if it's dry.


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