Millions of people eat chicken every day and many of them cook it at home, but most of them don’t realize that they could be at risk for one of the most common and (and sometimes deadly) forms of bacterial disease simply by following one common part of their nightly routine.
It’s bad enough that most chickens in the United States are fed an unnatural diet of genetically modified corn and soy, not to mention made to stay in miserable living conditions, especially at factory farms where disease easily breeds.
But now the United Kingdom’s top health agency is warning people about why even washing raw chicken in the sink could have unintended consequences.
UK Agency: Here’s How to Protect Your Family
Of course, having a strong immune system with plenty of healthy bacteria in your gut and consuming antibacterial foods such as garlic and coconut oil is the best way to keep harmful bacteria at bay.
But if you know someone who doesn’t eat healthy and does eat chicken prepared at home, it’s worth noting the Food Standards Agency’s recommendation to avoid washing raw chicken in the sink, which is still currently posted to its website. A 2019 study by the USDA here in the United States also concluded that there could be serious risks.
“This is because of a food bug called campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK,” the agency wrote. “It can be fatal.”
About 280,000 cases of food poisoning are caused by campylobacter every year in the UK, the agency said. Their research found that more than 2/5 of cooks wash chicken as part of their food preparations, but doing so could spread the campylobacter bacteria on skin, countertops, clothing and more.
In the United States, over 1.3 million people are affected each year by the bacteria which causes diarrheal illness and other stomach problems; the CDC also has said that an estimated 76 people die from the infections every year as well; the FDA notes that rinsing often spreads the germs according to the Rodale (organic) Institute.
So, what can you do instead?
If you do eat chicken make sure it is pastured so that it eats a natural diet and does not live in a disease-breeding environment. And while many people are afraid of germs and bacteria there are plenty of natural foods like the two mentioned above that can help keep them at bay with repeated consumption.
So how should you prepare chicken instead? The Food Standards Agency also offers tips on its website.
For more on why they recommend not washing chicken see the video below: