Why you should never wash raw chicken

2 min read

Washing raw chicken before cooking it can increase your risk of food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria.

Splashing water from washing chicken under a tap can spread the bacteria on to hands, work surfaces, clothing, and cooking equipment.

Water droplets can travel more than 50cm in every direction. Only a few campylobacter cells are needed to cause food poisoning.

Campylobacter is a common cause of food poisoning.

Most cases of campylobacter infection come from poultry.

Campylobacter poisoning can cause tummy pain, severe diarrhoea, and sometimes vomiting for between two and five days.

Find out more about the

symptoms of food poisoning

In certain cases, however, it can also lead to

irritable bowel syndrome
reactive arthritis
Guillain-Barré syndrome

How to prevent campylobacter poisoning

1. Cover and chill raw chicken

Cover raw chicken and store it at the bottom of the fridge so juices can't drip on to other foods and contaminate them.

2. Don't wash raw chicken

Cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs by splashing.

3. Wash used utensils

Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw chicken. This helps stop the spread of campylobacter.

4. Cook chicken thoroughly

Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat to check that it's steaming hot with no pink meat and the juices run clear.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.