Cross-contamination: washing chicken or any meat is a bad idea

Michael Formichella is a chef who blogs for, sponsored by the American Meat Institute (the views and opinions are strictly those of the author).

This past Friday, Formichella wrote, “Some basic common sense plays a huge role in safe outdoor dining and picnics.”

Except common sense isn’t common unless you’ve thought about it.

“With chicken being one of the popular proteins of choice here in the U.S., some simple precautions can go a long way. Safe temperature, washing and drying any meat before use must be done.”

Washing and drying of raw meat was abandoned as recommended practice years ago.

In a Dec. 24, 2004 article in the National Post, Fergus Clydesdale at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and who was on the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said, "The risk of cross-contamination through washing poultry is far greater than shoving it in the oven without washing it, which makes the risk almost zero.”

Even the Brits agree, stating, ”Washing raw poultry is a common kitchen mistake, and it simply isn’t necessary. … By washing your raw bird, you’re actually more likely to spread the germs around the kitchen than get rid of them.”

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time