There are some debates it seems humans are just doomed to have forever. Like if pineapple on pizza makes the perfect sweet/salty combo or if it’s an abomination sent straight from food hell. One of these unwinnable debates was recently reignited when a Buzzfeed article from last summer started trending again. The article was supposed to be the last word on if you should be washing your meat before cooking it or not. After consulting a germ expert, a spokesperson for the USDA, and even a fancy French chef, the answer was clear: washing your chicken is never a good idea. But despite all evidence to the contrary, many people refused to be swayed and remained firmly in the always-wash camp — including The Social host Marci Ien, who shocked her co-hosts in the video above when she revealed her pro-washing stance, kicking off a whole new wave of debate online.
What Marci and her fellow meat-washers might not realize is that rinsing your meat not only won’t clean away the harmful bacteria that might be on it, it actually increases the likelihood of spreading that harmful bacteria around. That’s why we cook our meat; it’s not just because squishy, raw chicken is one of the most disgusting substances on the planet – it’s to kill the bacteria that would make us sick.
Washing your meat may seem like it would remove some of that bad stuff, but that is absolutely not true. Need proof? Take your pick.
Health Canada says, “Do not wash raw meat, poultry, fish or seafood before cooking because the water used in washing could splash and spread the bacteria from the meat to other foods, hands, clothes, work surfaces and cooking equipment.”
The FDA says that while 67 per cent of polled Americans wash their meat before cooking, “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.”
It doesn’t matter how hot the water is – unless you’re boiling your chicken, in which case, ew – and even a vinegar and salt soak won’t kill bacteria. Brining, which is soaking poultry in salt water, is okay as long as you do it safely but your meat still needs to be cooked afterwards.
Was all this compelling enough evidence to prove the point? Apparently not. The video above has racked up thousands of comments on Facebook, with many users refusing to ever cook their chicken without first giving it a thorough wash, experts be damned. On Twitter, people were pretty defiant too.
Me learning folks don’t wash their chicken is traumatic. And I know that Buzzfeed article asked the experts and they said it don’t matter but bruh something’s gotta give
— Wakanda Nonsense (@aimfothestars) April 7, 2018
You’re not supposed to because of cross contamination, but I still do it sometimes
— Antoinette Wood (@NettieWrites) July 27, 2017
Yes. Meat, vegetables, fruits, wash them all
— Phoebo (@beatermelon) July 27, 2017
This entire article says “DO NOT WASH YOUR CHICKEN BECAUSE IT DOES NOTHING AND MAY MAKE YOU SICK” and every single comment says “I WASH MY CHICKEN AND I WILL NEVER STOP”
This is the buzzfeed equivalent of Trump ignoring “Do Not Congratulate” to Putin https://t.co/0nHgWR5THQ
— Red (@Redpainter1) April 5, 2018
Maybe it just says something about the power of the human spirit that no matter how many professionals tell you otherwise, some people will insist on believing in something that seems true – like that rinsing meat makes it cleaner.
The bottom line: seriously, don’t wash your meat.