CDC Advice About Not Washing Raw Chicken Fires Up a Debate

"You sound crazy" was one response to the tip

Questions loom about rinsing raw chicken. (GettyImages)
Questions loom about rinsing raw chicken. (GettyImages)
Getty Images

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Which came first, the chicken or the debate sparked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Since its April 26 tweet advising consumers not to wash raw chicken before cooking it, the CDC has gone from frying pan into the fire. Nearly 1,000 comments and 1,600 retweets have resulted, Fox News reports.

“We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken!” the agency tweeted three days after its initial social-media post on the subject. “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 spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!”

Many of the responses questioned the health center’s tip, which was aimed at preventing bacterial germs from spreading to surrounding cooking areas. Among people who differed in opinion was Jesus Christ Superstar Emmy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon. “You sound crazy,” the actor tweeted, effectively giving the don’t-wash-raw-chicken instructions the bird. “You wash the sink etc after you wash the meat.”

The CDC added: “American eat more chicken every year than any other mean. Chicken can be a nutritious choice, but raw chicken is often contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria and sometimes with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens bacteria.” Undercooked chicken or foods or beverages tainted by raw chicken or its juices can lead to food poisoning.

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