Safety Tips for Handling Raw Chicken

Don't even think about rinsing raw chicken. Learn how to prep it safely and disinfect your cutting board properly to avoid bacterial contamination.

Season Safely

Though bacteria can’t live for more than a few minutes in direct contact with salt (which dehydrates bacteria, leading to cell death), it can live on the edges of a box or shaker. To avoid contamination, premeasure salt and pepper so you don’t need to reach into a box or grab a grinder with dirty hands.

Don’t Rinse

Avoid rinsing raw poultry. Contrary to what some cookbooks advise, rinsing is likely to spread bacteria around the sink (and perhaps onto nearby foods such as lettuce sitting on the counter). And our tests failed to demonstrate any flavor benefit to rinsing poultry before cooking.

Be Sure to Disinfect

Make sure to wash your hands, knives, cutting boards, and counters (and anything else that has come into contact with the raw bird, its juices, or your hands) with hot, soapy water. In lab tests, we found that hot, soapy water; a bleach solution; and undiluted vinegar were equally effective at reducing bacteria on non‑dishwasher-safe cutting boards.

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