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All questions

M. Bittman's "chicken" piece scared me. Srsly. what's most effective way to wash away salmonella, in add to temperature?

asked by @savash98 about 3 years ago
15 answers 64022 views
D347253b 88e5 4ba1 ab1b 7b10260231b2  stringio
added about 3 years ago

I read that too, I almost wish I hadn't.

84e04bee 8fc8 4bdc 8199 701c1af83294  image
added about 3 years ago

I read that too!! I would think twice about washing your chicken though... A study was released last month that indicates washing chicken actually *spreads* germs through flying water droplets. Here's a link: http://www.drexel.edu/dontwashyourchicken...
Your best bet? If possible, try to buy your chicken from a farmers market or butcher.

120fa86a 7a24 4cc0 8ee1 a8d1ab14c725  me in munich with fish
added about 3 years ago

The reality of poultry is that they carry salmonella. This is true whether you're talking about huge factory farms or small backyard flocks. Chickens are dirty, and they carry lots of nasty germs, viruses, and diseases. The scary thing is when you have a huge poultry operation, this problem is greatly exacerbated by population density.
From what I understand, short of bleaching your chicken (don't do that), cooking to the correct temp is really the only way. The article suggests that cooking may not kill all salmonella. I'm sure this is probably true in some cases, and I don't know what you could do to kill the salmonella if this is the case.
Much has been written about not rinsing your chicken off in the sink, simply because, if there is salmonella or some other nasty germ present, it will simply get sprayed around the area near your sink. Gross. Also, even thorough rinsing is not going to effectively remove the salmonella from the chicken. In theory, the higher populations of salmonella would live on the exterior of the chicken--the skin and perhaps the cavity. Cooking to the proper temperature would kill the salmonella in these areas because, as they are closer to the surface, they reach a much higher temperature than the interior flesh of the chicken (this is why I don't stuff poultry ever--the potential for yummy salmonella-laden chicken juices soaking into a bread stuffing does not appeal to me in the slightest. This may be my own neurosis, but I'm pretty okay with un-stuffed chicken).
Now, I don't know how salmonella would get into the chicken's flesh, but I'm guessing it's possible. That's where the problem would get a bit more icky. This is why you should not buy certain cuts of red meat at, say, Costco. Costco jaccards (tenderizes with a tool that basically pokes little holes all over the meat) all the tough cuts (for instance, brisket) of red meat. The problem with this is that it can introduce bacteria into the interior of the meat. Bacteria on the surface is easily killed by searing, but on the interior? Not so much. Of course, they don't jaccard chicken, but you take my point--internalized bacteria=much harder to kill.
In short, I don't know what the answer is, short of changing the entire system, which is not going to happen. I know that as soon as I can, I'm going to start up my backyard chicken flock again, though. I'm aware that this isn't even a remote option for many people, so it's not a viable solution to the overarching problem. But what are consumers to do when even the agencies designed to protect them are the antithesis of proactive?

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 3 years ago


Salmonella can be present within chicken flesh for the same reason it can live within eggs -- chickens aren't affected by the bacteria so they can walk around like little feathered Salmonella Marys. Stuffed birds aren't a safety issue as long as the stuffing reaches the same 165F.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
ATL
added about 3 years ago

Chef Ono, as usual I appreciate your expert comments on food safety. I know the problems with eggs, but am not sure what this means in terms of consuming them. For example, is it safe to eat a slightly runny poached egg if the white is cooked through? Or to be safe, does that mean that all yolks we'd to be cooked through for complete safety?that would be bleak. . .

3639eee1 5e0d 4861 b1ed 149bd0559f64  gator cake
hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added about 3 years ago

The bacteria resides in the yolk, so if it's not cooked thoroughly they could still be present. If you have a competent immune system a small load of Salmonella bacteria won't make you ill. If I remember my vet school bacteriology correctly it takes something like 1,000,000 Salmonella organisms to cause an infection. So if you have a Salmonella infected egg, and it's stored at refrigerator temperature the organisms won't reproduce rapidly and will probably be below the threshold needed to cause infection. Plus not all eggs are infected. So odds are a runny yolked egg won't make you sick if you are an adult with a competent immune system.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
ATL
added about 3 years ago

Sorry--need not would!

9b94e94b 0205 4f2c bb79 1845dcd6f7d6  uruguay2010 61
added about 3 years ago

ChefOno's advice is very good. I would like to add that most food poisoning issues in the home & food plants comes from cross contamination. What you don't see/can't see is the very fine spray of the bacteria from any wetness of the product and packaging whilst handling. This is where one needs to be the most diligent in food safety practices. Unfortunately, the more we become "sanitized" the more we become susceptible to food poisoning. . . . bit of a catch-22 as our bodies lose the ability to protect us from the littlest buggers.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 3 years ago

I'll second usuba dashi on that. Cooking kills salmonella but then there is that risk of cross contamination. That's the part you don't see coming. It could be your board it could be your hands. Wash your hands.

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 3 years ago


ATL: Today's conventional, commercially-produced USDA-graded eggs are a pretty safe bet. Current estimates are that only 1 out of every 20,000 eggs are contaminated, causing less than 1 percent of foodborne illness.

That said, the runny yolks of poached eggs will not have achieved pasteurization. You can eliminate the risk by holding them in a covered pan of hot water at a temperature of 150F for 15 minutes which, by the way, is an excellent method when serving to a large group.

E0cc9d5c 6544 49fb b0e4 5c150d9ac0f7  imag0055
added about 3 years ago

In addition to all of the thoughtful suggestions above--how about not buying chicken "parts," as opposed to a whole chicken? Trays of thighs or breasts or wings are cut up factory chicken. For example, there will be parts from several chickens in the same tray of so-called thighs (a chicken has only 2), plus the cutting process opens up a bird to further contamination. Buy a whole bird. Cut it up yourself, if you want parts. (Invest in a good pair of poultry shears.) Chickens from farmer's markets can be nice, but many of them are the same stupid breed (White Cornish, bred to grow fast and disinclined to free range even if the door is wide open) as commercial
chickens. I raise my own birds, but if I were to buy them, I would avoid cheap trays of chicken parts.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
ATL
added about 3 years ago

Thanks for the answers about eggs! Haven gone through a horrible case of food poisoning a year ago, I definitely to avoid the experience again!

671b6c39 4898 435f 92c5 89cd9b925088  img 3788
added about 3 years ago

In addition to other advice, I suggest getting a cutting board that you only use for chicken and another for meat me fish. I have a plastic board that I can then clean with a bleach cleaner and put through the dish washer. For non meat products, I use a nice wooden board that can be simply cleaned with soap and Water. This helps me avoid cross contaminating vegetable dishes. Also, if you use a knife to cut chicken, wash it really well in hot water before cutting anything else.