Top Tips for Chicken Food Safety

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Cooking shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, Cooking with Paris Hilton, and Top Chef continue to keep millions of viewers glued to their television sets. While these shows undoubtedly sport great entertainment value and serve as a great source of inspiration, celebrity chefs are not above having poor food safety habits, especially when it comes to chicken, according to a report by the University of Kansas. In order to avoid potentially grave consequences due to poor handling of chicken, basic guidelines such as the following should be followed at all times.

Don’t Wash Your Chicken Before Cooking It
Often when you watch celebrity chefs in action on TV you will see them rinsing their raw chicken before cooking it. While this may seem like a good idea, it actually isn’t. Rinsing raw chicken can result in the juices and the bacteria it contains, being splashed on a number of things including nearby work surfaces, food, utensils, and yourself. Although present-day chicken processing procedures do limit the risk of potentially harmful bacteria, an effort should always be made to avoid cross-contamination.

Keep Your Cooked Chicken in the Fridge
It is imperative to put cooked chicken in the fridge to prevent it from spoiling. In fact, you should put it in while it is still warm to prevent the growth of bacteria such as e Coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. Make sure though that your chicken is warm (below 35°C/95°F) and not hot as putting hot chicken in the fridge can result in it spoiling faster due to the air in the fridge warming up. Not being able to distinguish between ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ is likely also where the age-old rumor comes from of never putting warm food in the fridge.

Don’t Reuse Tools that have Touched Raw Chicken
Savvy chefs may be proficient at multitasking but, unfortunately, this often results in them neglecting a few very basic food safety rules. One of these rules involves avoiding cross-contamination with raw chicken at all costs. When handling raw chicken, never use any cutting boards, pots and pans, utensils, and other kitchen implements or surfaces if they have been in contact with raw chicken. Wash every item that could possibly have been in contact with raw chicken properly before using it again. This includes your hands, which happens to be the most overlooked of all kitchen ‘implements’.
Chicken is a very common ingredient in countless restaurants and households. While it is extremely versatile and also typically budget-friendly, it is important to always follow food safety guidelines to prevent cross-contamination and potential illness.

Article contributed by Cindy Cummings

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