About 90 per cent of the people reading this post rinse off their raw chicken before cooking it, according to research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you are among them, the 14-second animation above could save your life (or at least save you from a nasty stomach ache).
That's because washing raw meat, far from killing off harmful bacteria, actually helps spread it by spraying it around your sink, onto your counter top and even onto your clothes. According to one study, cited by NPR's The Salt blog, those pathogens, including salmonella and campylobacter, can spray as far as three feet away from the bird in the sink.
The video, aptly named "Don't Wash Your Chicken!," was produced by scientists and public health experts at Drexel University and New Mexico State University, who note that the only surefire way of getting rid of the bugs is to cook a chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
In other food safety news, Toronto Public Health announced today the cause of all the illnesses associated with the infamous cronut burger at the Canadian National Exhibition. It wasn't the cronut (a croissant-doughnut hybrid). It wasn't the patty. It was the bacon jam that adorned the thing (as if eating a beef-stuffed cronut wasn't decadent enough).
In the interests of ensuring your intestinal well-being, here are a few basic food safety tips you may not know, courtesy of Health Canada:
- When you're shopping, pick up refrigerated items like eggs and frozen food at the end of your trip, to keep them cold as long as possible.
- The door of your fridge can fluctuate in temperature, so keep eggs and dairy inside instead.
- You might already use a separate cutting board for meat, but consider keeping a separate shopping bag as well if you use reusable ones.
- When making a soup or gravy, be sure to bring the pot to a full rolling boil, not just a simmer, to make sure you've killed off any bacteria.
- If you've used a microwave to defrost frozen food, make sure to cook it immediately — at room temperature, it can be a breeding ground for nasty pathogens.