Roommates, we all know the number one rule to preparing chicken is to wash it! The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, doesn’t seem to agree. According to a new report, the USDA insists that washing or rinsing raw chicken puts people at risk of illness.

The USDA’s Deputy of Food and Safety, Dr. Mindy Brashears, says the department has found that many people do not effectively clean poultry. Additionally, the report says the average person does not clean and sanitize the area in which the chicken is cleaned.

“The public health implications of these findings should be of concern to everyone,” Brashears says. “Even when consumers think they are effectively cleaning after washing poultry, this study shows that bacteria can easily spread to other surfaces and foods.”

Despite our own concerns with consuming bacteria while eating chicken, the USDA report says bacteria spreading on kitchen surfaces is much more dangerous, and the best option is to quit washing poultry all together.

According to the results, bacteria can be spread very easily when surfaces are not effectively cleaned and sanitized, and the USDA is recommending three options to help prevent illness when cleaning meat or poultry.

The USDA recommends we do the following:

  1. Prepare foods that will not be cooked before washing or handling raw chicken and poultry.
  2. Thoroughly clean and sanitize any surface that has potentially touched or been contaminated from raw meat, poultry, or their juices.
  3. Destroy any illness causing bacteria by cooking meat and poultry to a safe internal temperature.

Additionally, the USDA provides a warning for how to clean surfaces after preparing meat and poultry.

“Washing, rinsing or brining eat and poultry in salt water, vinegar, or lemon juice does not destroy bacteria,” the report says. “If there is anything on your raw poultry that you want to remove, pat the area with a damp paper towel and immediately wash your hands.”

Will y’all continue to wash your meat and poultry, Roomies? Let us know in the comments!