Nutrition under the microscope: should you or should you not wash raw chicken before cooking it?


In the section Nutrition under the microscope we share a scientific view of nutrition and health. The internet is full of claims about these two broad topics, but is that information correct? We provide clarity with the help of various experts. With today: should you wash raw chicken before cooking it, or not?

More than a quarter of chicken-eating Dutch people rinse raw chicken under the tap before slicing or frying it in the pan. Most do this because they want to flush out bacteria so that the chicken becomes more hygienic. And although we understand those thoughts, the Nutrition Center advises against doing this. Subway told Wieke van der Vossen, food safety and labeling expert at the Nutrition Center.

Washing raw chicken, yes or no?

“Unfortunately, chicken is a product that still makes many people sick. It’s good to know that by doing what you do in the kitchen, you can prevent a food infection,” says Van der Vossen.

One of those things to prevent food infection is by not washing raw chicken breast. By washing the chicken, you spread bacteria in the kitchen. Because the juice from the raw chicken comes into contact with splashing water, the drops with bacteria end up on the counter. “After washing, bacteria are found in the sink, on the counter or on things on the counter, such as a cutting board or knife,” says Van der Vossen.

Salmonella can make you sick

These are the bacteria Salmonella or Campylobacter. The symptoms of food poisoning by these bacteria are not wrong. Think of complaints such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever, but also muscle aches and headaches. According to the safety expert, how sick someone gets depends on several factors. “The amount of chicken the person has eaten, the specific type of bacteria and the person’s resistance all play a role.”

According to the food safety expert, the complaints can last up to a week, but in some cases “people can still suffer from intestinal cramps for weeks. It is known that vulnerable groups, such as very young children, the elderly, people with a reduced resistance and pregnant women, can become more seriously ill. It is even more important for them to work hygienically,” says Van der Vossen.

Do you really think it’s better to wash the chicken before you put the piece of meat in the pan? “Our advice is not to do it under the tap, but for example in a tub of water. In any case, make sure that it splashes as little as possible,” says Van der Vossen. She also recommends that you thoroughly clean the countertops, kitchen utensils and all contact surfaces with hot water and soapy water after washing. And don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw chicken breast.

More articles about nutrition from Subway read? You will find them here.

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Nutrition under the microscope: should you or should you not wash raw chicken before cooking it?