Should You Wash Chicken Before Cooking?

Many home cooks do it automatically: remove raw chicken from packaging and rinse. This step is in so many older chicken recipes that it rivals "preheat oven."

First question easier than second. "All public agencies say 'Don't wash your chicken,'" says Bill Marler, a 30-year foodborne illness litigator

 Washing chicken can spread salmonella and campylobacter, the leading causes of foodborne illness, around your kitchen, clothes, and home.

This is CDC-recommended food-handling 101. A 2019 USDA report shows how widespread chicken-washing has become. 39% of the control group washed their chicken before cooking

30% believed it removed blood or slime, and 19% did it because a family member did.

How did so many people decide to wash, rinse, or splash chickens before cooking them?

She later updated her recommendation in her 1989 cookbook The Way to Cook, directing readers to wash raw chicken in hot water. "Dry it with paper towels, set it on the cutting board, and go to work."

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