You always did it.
Mom taught you to do it.
Dad taught you to do it.
Maybe Home-Ec or a professional cooking school taught you to do it.
You pull the chicken out of the fridge, wash it well, then prepare it for cooking, right?
Nope. The Food Standards Agency in the UK has found that you shouldn't.
Here's the back story.
The places that chicken is prepared, a slaughterhouse, are a pretty nasty environment.
Chickens are raised in cramped quarters so that you can have that drumstick at $.89 a pound.
Yes, I blame you. If you wanted "clean food" you will need to have a farm, and I don't see a back to nature movement taking hold. Plus farming is a difficult job, I certainly wouldn't want to do it.
The chickens are in cages, and they tend to do what chickens do.
Eat. Sleep. Poo. Lay eggs.
You know, like normal, right?
All that poo gets on their feathers and on everything in the environment.
Once the chicken is killed to make that roaster you had on Sunday Dinner, the transformation to "meat" begins. They remove the insides and are drained of blood.
Pretty grisly right?
Some of that poo is bound to get out. Even if you were in a perfect environment, they still have to get the feathers off the bird, remove the legs, prepare the neck for soup.
Mmm chicken soup!
All the "innards" are packed up. What can be salvaged will be used. The intestines and other organs will be discarded.
Hopefully they can do all that in a perfect environment, but you know they don't.
More poo on your chicken, even if it is invisible.
So you get it home to prepare it.
I know, let's wash it, I'm sure there are icky things all over it.
Well, you're right there are, but what you just did was to contaminate your work surfaces. There will be a mist of water that collected those nasties, the poo, and spray all over your counters. How is your immune system anyway? Got some good kitchen gloves?
What's the solution?
If you don't actually SEE anything on the bird, prepare it without washing. You are apparently just wasting water anyway and you know nobody suggested you use soap and water to wash out food!
Make sure you cook it fully, 165F is the usual temperature. Get an "instant read thermometer" and cook your roaster until the meat is at 165F in the thickest part of the bird, usually the breast.
165F is the temperature that the USDA recommends. It will kill "all" bacteria. Even if you have a weakened immune system, you're not going to get sick from that "dirty bird".
Dirty bird served with stuffing, cranberry, mashed potato, and a slab of cake for dessert, I hope.
You could convince yourself that Vegetarian or Vegan foods are the answer, but this is not a very good reason for you to go Veg. There are some other reasons and some are quite valid like lower cholesterol and so forth. But cleanliness? Nope.
After all, those "bad spots" Mom would cut out of that tomato that had been sitting there "too long" got bad because of, you guessed it, Bacteria. How did that get on the tomato? Handling or "fertilizer" from the chicken that went onto your neighbor's table. While you are at it, how about those pesticides?
So cook your food well - whatever food you choose to eat. 165F is best. Get a good instant read thermometer and learn how to use it.
That's your helpful hint for the day.
Oh, and if you do have a roaster, a good set of kitchen shears will help you "portion pack" it in short order. Just cut along the breast bone and the spine and it splits easily without using a dangerous knife. Make sure when all is said and done, the counters get wiped down with a strong disinfectant.
Clean that kitchen, folks, you don't know where that chicken has been!
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