Tuesday, April 05, 2022

In food safety study, 25% of participants contaminated salad with raw chicken




 News Release 4-Apr-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
North Carolina State University


In a study aimed at assessing the impact of washing poultry on kitchen contamination, researchers found that more than a quarter of study participants contaminated salad with raw poultry – including many study participants who did not wash the poultry. The study highlights the importance of hand-washing and cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness when cooking at home.

Washing raw poultry is not recommended, due to concerns about inadvertently contaminating other foods and surfaces – and increasing the risk of foodborne illness.


 However, the researchers were surprised to see that people who did wash the chicken and people who didn’t wash the chicken had similar levels of contamination from the raw chicken in their prepared salads.

So what gives?

“We think the salad contamination stems from people doing a poor job of washing their hands after handling the raw chicken, and/or doing a poor job of sanitizing the sink and surrounding surfaces before rinsing or handling the salad,” Shumaker says.

“Regardless of whether people washed their chicken, the kitchen sinks became contaminated by the raw chicken, while there was relatively little contamination of nearby counters,” Shumaker says. “This was a little surprising, since the conventional wisdom had been that the risk associated with washing chicken was because water would splash off of the chicken and contaminate surrounding surfaces. Instead, the sink itself was becoming contaminated, even when the chicken wasn’t being washed.

“Washing the chicken is still not a good idea, but this study demonstrates the need to focus on preventing contamination of sinks and emphasizing the importance of hand-washing and cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.”


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