Do you wash your chicken with water in the sink before cooking it? The CDC would like for you to stop that if you do. The bacteria naturally found in chicken can’t be seen with your naked eye, so even though you think you’re doing something safe, it could actually be deadly.
More than 1.2 million cases of salmonella poisening cases are reported each year with up to 450 leading to death in individuals who are immunosupressant and are responsible for 230,000 hospitalizations.
The symptoms of salmonela poisening can start and last from 12 hours to 72 hours after being infected by the bacteria. Symptoms include stomach cramps, vomitting, fever, and diarrhea. Although symptoms can subside with a week, some individuals will carry the bacteria in their bodies up to a year.
A few weeks ago the Center for Disease Control nearly broke the internet when they issued a statement on Twitter and their social media advising that people not wash their poultry as part of the prep process.
The logic? Even though up to 25 percent of poultry parts are infected with various strains of bacteria, washing chicken only makes the situation worse. Water, when it hits the chicken, can also splash around the kitchen sink, onto dishes, sponges, and find its way into other foods that share the same preparation space. Even during cleanup those areas may not be properly disinfected and lead to salmonella poisoning in the future. Salmonella can live from 1-4 hours on hard surfaces and clothing but in porous items can stay active for up to 5 months.
The Center for Disease Control also advised that what chicken washers intend to do can be satisfied during the cooking process. If you become infected with salmonella, you may require antibiotics to kill the bacteria in your system.
Salmonella can be found in all poultry items such as eggs, raw chicken and turkey, unpasteurized milk and even in some juices. Raw fruits and veggies such as sprouts and melons and some nuts can be carriers.
Food safety experts advice cooking chicken to 165 degrees internal temperature, fish to 145 degrees and eggs up to 160 degrees. Washing hands for 20 seconds or longer and using water with bleach on surfaces can help sanitize the area.