The great chicken debate - to rinse or not to rinse

Don't wash your chicken

Recently, NPR reported on a controversy regarding why rinsing a chicken ahead of cooking is inadvisable.  In Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks, they point out that not only does rinsing raw chicken not make it safer, but it's actually more dangerous: "because washing increases the chances that you'll spread the foodborne pathogens that are almost certainly on your bird all over the rest of your kitchen too." The hot water that you're using is not going to kill the germs - it will make a nice germ soup that is easy to spread - and any germs on the chicken will get killed during cooking.

Apparently, some 90% of people do rinse their chicken (Julia Child was an early proponent of the practice on her The French Chef) and a group of researchers, using an USDA grant, are now launching a public health campaign to convince people to stop. You can check out their videos here on the Don't Wash Your Chicken website, which employs a Germ-vision which demonstrates the ability of those little germs to infiltrate the rest of the kitchen.

The story has been picked up on a number of websites, but we wanted to single out one. The Braiser directed us to Alton Brown's tweet on the subject - so here's his Best Way to Wash the Inside of a Chicken. A little dramatic, perhaps...

Added on Sept. 1: Due to the popularity of this item, NPR ran a follow-up with answers that people had written in regarding the first article. You can view it here.

Photo courtesy of the Don't Wash Your Chicken website


  • chefdave99  on  8/29/2013 at 2:42 PM

  • sir_ken_g  on  8/29/2013 at 7:50 PM

    Have never washed a chicken yet - still alive.

  • RaySadler  on  8/30/2013 at 5:50 AM

    We always scald ours - kettle straight off the boil inside and outside RayS

  • Lisa  on  8/30/2013 at 5:53 AM

    Makes sense! Thanks Lindsay!

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