USDA suggests you skip washing poultry - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

USDA suggests you skip washing poultry

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(WSIL) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants you to stop washing or rinsing your raw poultry.

A study from the USDA shows that people are putting themselves at risk of illness when they wash or rinse raw poultry.

“Cooking and mealtime is a special occasion for all of us as we come together with our families and friends,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “However, the public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone. Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods. The best practice is not to wash poultry.”

The results of the observational study showed how easy bacteria can be spread when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized. The USDA is recommending three easy options to help prevent illness when preparing poultry, or meat, in your home.

1. Prepare foods that will not be cooked, such as a salad, before handling raw meat and poultry.

2. Thoroughly clean and sanitize any surface that has may touch raw meat, poultry, or their juices.

  • Wash hands immediately after handling raw meat and poultry. Wet your hands with water, lather with soap and then scrub your hands for 20 seconds.

3. Destroy any illness causing bacteria by cooking meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer.

  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops) are safe to eat at 145°F.
  • Ground meats (burgers) are safe to eat at 160°F.
  • Poultry (whole or ground) are safe to eat at 165°F.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that millions of Americans are sickened with foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

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