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This Is Why You Should Never Wash Raw Meat

By Andrea Heckler, 11/13/2017

Many people think it's more sanitary to wash meat before cooking it, but this can actually do more harm than good. Here's why.

Dangers of washing raw meat

When you wash something, the idea is to take something dirty (or potentially dirty) and make it cleaner. That applies to the majority of things you might have in mind, but not for raw meat.

If you've bought some raw chicken or steaks from the supermarket, never let your first instinct be to drag it to the sink for a little rinse-down. According to the USDA, this can cause cross-contamination, or spreading of bacteria from the uncooked meats.

When you wash off these raw meats, the bacteria they could be carrying can easily spread to other foods you're handling, dishes and utensils, as well as cooking surfaces throughout your kitchen. This applies to various types of raw meat: chicken, other varieties of poultry, beef, pork, lamb, etc.

Even more, washing just isn't that effective in getting rid of the germs you might fear anyway: "some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed," the USDA says.

How do you make sure your meat is clean, then?

By simply cooking it.

Any type of cooking – from grilling to broiling to baking – will be able to kill off any and all harmful bacteria that the meat might be carrying. All that matters is the temperature (use a food thermometer to make sure it's enough) and that you let the meat cook long enough.

Remember: it's essential that you wash your hands with soap after handling any kind of raw meat. Make sure you thoroughly clean your cutting boards, knives, and cooking surfaces as well.

Here's how to thaw meat in minutes!

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Chicken Quesadillas

These quick and easy chicken quesadillas are the perfect, last-minute family dinner!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. of Mexican spice mix
  • 4 Tortillas
  • Cheddar
  • Salt, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Put shredded chicken breast, tomato sauce, chives, and mexican spice mix in a bowl and mix together.
  2. Lay out the tortillas. Place a slice of cheddar in the center, and cover with the chicken mix.
  3. Fold up tortillas, and heat in a frying pan until golden.
  4. Enjoy!

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