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Thread: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    It's easy to assume that a developed country like the USA, with its strong antibacterial focus, would produce poultry that is safe to eat, but this is not the case. A raw supermarket chicken is possibly the most contaminated item you will handle all week.

    Natalia Jones, Ed.
    Undated

    Do you normally wash chicken before cooking? If so, you should probably stop, at least that’s what the latest consumer research by the USDA recommends, claiming that washing chicken and handling it with bare hands may significantly increase one’s likelihood of contracting food-borne illnesses. For an explanation of why this is the case and recommendations on the safest way of handling raw chicken, continue reading.


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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    I read that you should not wash chicken some time ago. I don't know why there is so much contamination in the US, we never have warnings here in Oz, and the chicken industry is probably no different.

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    I/we love high(er) fat, dark meat chicken. I purchase these dark meat chicken quarters for my lifelong autistic disabled SIL and myself, in 10 lb. sacks, usually 4 bags at a time to be stored in the outdoor chest freezer, and always trying to make sure the plastic bags don't leak. Depending on the size and/or age of the chickens, there can be anywhere between 8-10 chicken quarters in a 10 lb. bag.

    When planning to slow simmer chicken quarters, a 10 lb bag is removed from the chest freezer a day before to thaw. Then the top is cut open with kitchen scissors, the bag neck is then bunched to focus all the "juices" directly into the stainless steel sink drain. Next that bag is filled with cold water and drained again the same way, and the sink is then rinsed. I always use a tiny drop of dispensed dish detergent to wash my hands quickly and thoroughly to not only remove the chicken fat, but also any possible pathogens.

    The large covered cast iron pan can only hold about 4-5 chicken quarters at a time, so the 10 lb bag of quarters is simmered in two separate 2 hour, minimally heated simmering events, keeping the first batch warm in a tall stainless steel pot, (with a metal pressure cooker platform at the bottom of the SS pot for a little bottom water vapor moisture), while the second batch is simmering. I sure wish, though, that I could buy batches of organic chickens from "Islander". Back in the nineties, we used to have a sizable (some home incubated) chicken flock here for egg production, always donating roosters and old hens to someone else for the meat.

    While I'm at it, I want to mention that the chicken quarters are prepared by garnishing with turmeric, fresh ground black peppercorns (that nutritionally enhances the turmeric) , mined pink Utah salt, parsley, coarse garlic powder granules, and oregano, all except the Tone's peppercorns, are bought organic bulk from my local food co-op. The cast iron pan is initially primed with just a little CCO to get things going until the chicken fat oozes out, heat is adjusted minimally, pan covered, and simmered for about two hours per batch. The first batch is then kept slightly heated in a tall stainless steel covered pot with the excess fat while the second batch is simmering.
    Last edited by grulla; 09-02-19 at 09:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Please tell me how you two can eat ten pounds of chicken before it spoils. I realize that number includes the bones but still, I doubt I could finish off a quarter of a chicken in one meal. When I cook one of my chickens I enjoy some breast slices and slice a few more for sandwiches. Then I "part out" the remainder of the bird, package it in meal-sized portions and freeze the leftovers for stirfrys, chicken pie, stew, salad or whatever. The carcass simmers for 48 hours for bone broth. Thus one chicken will last a month to 6 weeks. Do you do something like that?
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Quote Originally Posted by Julieanne View Post
    I don't know why there is so much contamination in the US... the chicken industry is probably no different.
    I suspect there's a profound difference. I read about how the line is speeded up almost to the danger point, when injuries with those sharp knives are increasingly likely. The resulting blood, feathers, feces, offal and spatter create a messy environment and spread contagion. I've never been inside a processing plant but I have certainly participated in backyard processing arrangements; there is really no way to avoid spatter when you slit a chicken's throat or hose down the plucking machine. And these are relatively clean homegrown birds. Even the cleanest will have a bit of feces clinging to their breast. It's all washed away, of course. I'm just sayin'.
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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    Please tell me how you two can eat ten pounds of chicken before it spoils...Do you do something like that?
    Yesterday, I slowly simmered (almost stewed-like) 9 chicken quarters in that heavy covered, cast iron pan, 2 pieces that we ate, and the leftover 7 quarter pieces went to my SIL's fridge for another 3 alternating days (with always something else in between to break up the repitition) of the chicken left-overs for the two of us, as we always have noon time dinner together, (which also happens to be my last intermittent fasting meal of the day).

    I have explained to my SIL that since the chicken quarters were originally cooked "low 'n slow", that she needs to slowly reheat a leftover portion for two in her electric toaster oven, also lo'n slow, at appx 145*F for a couple hours, in order to preserve the juiciness, nutrition, and flavor of those chicken quarters. Then they don't taste like reheated "leftovers"

    Question: what tastes worse than dried out, overheated, white chicken meat? Answer: dried out, overheated dark chicken meat, yuk. Dark chicken meat is always juicier than the white meat, but it's important to make sure to keep it that way when first preparing it and also especially when reheating it for leftovers, in order to maintain good flavor and texture so it doesn't taste like typical "reheated leftovers ". SIL has done a good job of that after much explaining and supervision.

    PS: I always share some meat with my wirehaired Griffon Pointer, Maggie, who also does a good job of chewing and eating all the (non-splinter) bones, connective tissue, and fats/broth, no waste.
    EXAMPLE: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/wireh...inting-griffon
    Last edited by grulla; 09-02-19 at 03:56 PM.

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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Chicken: to wash or not to wash??? Even the experts don't agree on this topic. However, one of the most beloved American chefs ever, Julia Child, says wash your chicken before cooking. I grew up watching my grandmother, mother, and aunts rinse chicken for years. I've been in a quandary over this one ever since I learned about the disadvantages of washing. But, I still rinse my chicken--very carefully--before cooking.

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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Was Julia Child cooking French chicken? Were your grandmother, mother, and aunts cooking homegrown chicken? Because those precautions apply only to CAFO birds processed in the U.S. They are sick birds to begin with. Toward the end of their short life span, tractors go through the houses removing dead birds. I do rinse my homegrown chickens.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Washing Chicken Causes Food-Borne Illness

    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realize the precautions apply only to CAFO birds. My folks cooked fresh chicken from a butcher's stall in an open market. But, I'm pretty sure mom gets chicken from a chain grocery store now. Bet she's still rinsing them. Lol.

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