There are plenty of myths floating around on the safety of chicken meat. Here is a look at some of the common myths, especially those surrounding raw chicken meat:-
Myth #1 The Raw Chicken Must be Washed Before it is Cooked
This is not a must especially if know the source of the raw chicken meat. In fact, the raw chicken meat doesn’t have to be washed before it is cooked especially if it has been processed in a clean and professionally run facility. This is always the case with the chicken that you purchase from the supermarket shelves.
The modern processing conditions for chicken meat will guarantee that the chicken reaching your fridge or cooking table has very little bacteria left on it. Rinsing the raw chicken meat with clean water does not necessarily reduce the amount of bacteria in the raw meat; in fact it increases the chance of chicken juices contaminating other foods, utensils and the cooking surface. Washing actually increases the chance of cross-contamination and which can cause a host of food borne diseases.
Myth #2 The Risk of Food Poisoning is Gone Once the Food is Cooked
This is true. If the raw chicken is cooked well, the risk of food poisoning is fully eliminated. However, that may not be the case in case cross-contamination happened. For example, if the chicken juices were dripping on other foods, especially those that are eaten raw, then you are still likely to be affected by food poisoning.
After cooking the chicken, make sure you clean out every item that came into contact with raw chicken meat including the chopping boards, towels, knives and your hands. If you stored it next to other foods that are eaten raw, make sure these are thoroughly washed. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly; we can’t emphasize this enough.
Myth #3 Defrosting the Chicken on the Bench
This is what most of us are likely to do. We simply get the raw chicken meat out of the freeze and leave it on the bench for several hours to defrost. However, this can be quite risky and increases the risk of cross-contamination.
The best approach to thaw raw chicken meat is by placing at low temperatures of about 5 degrees centigrade. You can do this by using the microwave or the fridge. The fastest way to defrost the raw chicken meat from the freezer is by using the microwave but this is likely to ruin the meat quality. If you are planning to cook your meat the following day, leave it in the fridge to defrost overnight to ensure the safety as well as the quality of the meat is maintained. You can place the raw meat in a container or in the bottom shelf so as to prevent cross-contamination.
Myth #4: It is not safe to refreeze raw chicken
This is false. It is actually safe to refreeze the raw chicken meat after thawing it. This will only be safe if the chicken was defrosted gradually as prescribed in the step #3 above and if the defrosting process has not taken longer more than 24 hours. However, refreezing should generally be avoided as it ruins the meat quality.