From newbies to seasoned chefs, many home cooks often ask the question, “Does washing meat before cooking it promote food safety?” It would make sense, as we wash vegetables, utensils, and many other kitchen items before using them. But meat products are a bit of a special case. Keep reading to find out whether you should be washing meat before cooking.
To Wash or Not To Wash?
The modern answer to this question is a resounding “no,” which may leave some home cooks flabbergasted. Back in the day, it was more common to wash meat because food processing was not as effective as it is today. This is why there might be some disconnect between this generation’s take on washing meat and your grandparent’s opinion. However, no matter what that trusted family member’s habits may be, you should never wash meat in your kitchen sink before preparing it. In fact, you can do more harm than good with this practice.
Meat contains natural bacteria that can spread very easily through contact with other foods, your hands, and surfaces. Running water is no exception to this. Rinsing meat can splash bacteria from the food around your kitchen and onto other surfaces and utensils without your knowledge. This can lead to cross-contamination, which happens when bacteria from certain food sources contaminates other foods and surfaces. Cross-contamination can make you sick and lead to food poisoning, so you want to be especially careful when handling raw meats.
What To Do Instead
Washing meat isn’t necessary before you cook because the natural bacteria is cooked out of the meat at the correct temperatures. Always make sure you reference a recipe when cooking beef, poultry, pork, and other types of meat to ensure you cook it to the proper internal temperature. When handling meat, wash your hands often, as well as any utensils that contact the food. This helps ensure that cross-contamination doesn’t occur in any other foods you are preparing. You should also clean and sanitize surfaces that contacted the meat to completely kill off any remaining bacteria.
By following these tips, you can prevent cross-contamination and keep your kitchen safe and clean. “Does washing meat before cooking it promote food safety?” is a common question that all home cooks and chefs alike must learn. Most meat nowadays contains very little bacteria, but it’s still important to purchase it from a reliable source and treat it with caution during preparation. In fact, if you’re looking for a convenient meat source, try buying poultry meat online from Vincent’s Meat Market. We have a wide selection and can answer all your handling and preparation questions.