Many people wash chicken before cooking it, which is based on the idea that washing it would help eliminate germs and other impurities from the bird. This notion is bolstered by numerous recipes that call for cleaning poultry before roasting, such as the 1951 version of The Joy of Cooking, in which Julia Child advised rinsing chicken before roasting it, and Martha Stewart endorses it as well.

People are being urged to stop washing chicken before cooking by public health officials, germ experts, and professional chefs. According to experts, contrary to popular belief, rinsing meat before cooking does not remove germs; instead, it raises the chances of ingesting harmful bacteria that may be on the meat.

“This practice is not recommended by food safety experts since washing will not destroy pathogens and may increase the risk of contaminating other foods and surfaces.” — according to the Food and Drug Administration

The “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign, which was started by food safety researchers Jennifer Quinlan and Shauna Henley of Drexel University and doctoral student Shauna Henley, aims to educate the public about the importance of not washing chicken before cooking. The goal is to raise awareness about the impact of washing chicken before cooking using photo-novellas and mini-drama videos. New Mexico State University has joined this effort, with a focus on video production that allowed them to employ skilled actors in their stories.

Despite the fact that washing chicken flesh before cooking is discouraged, many people do it, according to an FDA poll. No surprise, many experts have urged for a serious campaign to educate the public about the consequences of washing meat before cooking because 67 percent of Americans wash their meat before cooking. Professor Warriner from the University of Guelph told CTV News that he believes there should be a “big push” toward sensitizing consumers about the effects of washing meat before cooking (link is external).

“It’s really only been since the ‘90s or the 2000s that public health officials started saying, ‘oh wait, this is actually more dangerous than we thought. ’ So now you just have to deprogram people.”

Another widely accepted notion is that washing meat in heated water, vinegar, or chlorine will disinfect it. While this may help to some extent in sterilizing meat, there’s little evidence to suggest it works for poultry flesh. The safest method of preserving your chicken and avoiding cross-contamination is to cook it to the appropriate temperatures, which according To the Food and Drug Administration must be greater than 1300 degrees Fahrenheit (550°C).

High heat destroys the germs that cause food poisoning, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

According to the CDC, Salmonella causes about 1.2 million cases of illness each year in the United States. 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 fatalities are linked with salmonellosis. Campylobacter, on the other hand, causes approximately 1.3 million illnesses every year. “Just 500 cells of campylobacter will give you profuse diarrhea for a week,” warns Warriner about the bacteria.

On the other hand, the issue that still hasn’t been answered is how to clean impurities like blood, feathers, and other detritus that comes with chicken if washing spreads germs? Some individuals have suggested that cleaning the chicken gently with a paper towel then disposing of the paper may be a safer method to get rid of dirt.