Whether meat should be washed before cooking

Kateryna Dutik

What you should not wash meat for and why soak meat

Experts differ on whether to wash meat before cooking. Some believe that it reduces the risk of bacterial contamination, while others believe that cooking is enough to eat healthy meat.

As with fruits and vegetables, washing meat is almost a natural reflex. However, this seemingly logical action raises many questions, Sante Plus writes. Although some studies have shown the dangers it poses, some people continue to do it as a precautionary measure.

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Do I need to wash my meat before every cooking?

One thing is for sure: washing meat in running water does not make it cleaner or healthier, but it does lead to the spread of bacteria. Nutritionist Alexandra Retion explained the disadvantages of this practice to the magazine:

1. Washing meat poses a risk of bacterial growth.

It may be surprising, but washing meat before cooking can worsen the problem. Rinsing meat increases the risk of cross-contamination.

Rinsing meat, poultry, or fish under running water before cooking can cause bacteria, such as salmonella or campylobacter, to spread to other work surfaces, kitchen utensils, or even other foods. These bacteria can lead to food poisoning, especially since washing meat under running water is unnecessary and does not eliminate foodborne pathogens.

However, a study published in the Journal of Food Protection suggests that washing the surface of meat with an acidic solution, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can reduce the number of bacteria on raw meat compared to washing with running water. Nevertheless, the safest way to eliminate harmful germs is to cook the meat thoroughly.

How can I avoid cross-contamination caused by bacteria on meat?

Washing meat does not remove bacteria. They are already on the surface and can easily spread throughout the kitchen. Here are the best steps to take to limit the risk of infection.

1. Clean the surfaces that touch the meat. It is very important to thoroughly clean the surfaces used after cooking or cutting meat, namely the work surface, the board and the sink. To do this, do not hesitate to spray white vinegar on different areas. Leave the product on and then wipe it off with a clean, damp cloth.

2. Wash your hands after touching raw meat. To reduce the risk of infection, you should wash your hands thoroughly after contact with meat. Use warm, soapy water and rub your hands gently for about twenty seconds.

3. Separate raw meat from other foods. Because raw meat contains bacteria, it should be separated from other foods that are ready to eat. By doing so, you will avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

4. Roast/bake the meat well. The only way to ensure that these foods are safe to eat is to cook them thoroughly until they reach the right internal temperature to kill pathogens.

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