Should meat be washed or not washed before cooking? Opinions differ on this. When some think that it reduces the risk of contamination by bacteria, others, on the contrary, believe that cooking is enough to consume healthy meat. Here are some answers.
As with fruits and vegetables, washing meat is an almost natural reflex. However, this apparently logical action raises many questions. Although some research has shown the danger of this, some people still do it as a precaution.
Should the meat be rinsed before each cooking?
One thing is certain, washing meat under running water does not make it cleaner or healthier. It would even seem that washing meat under running water is the source of the spread of bacteria. Alexandra Retion, nutritionist and dietitian, explains for the magazine Mujer Actual, the disadvantages of this practice.
– Washing the meat poses a risk of proliferation of bacteria
It may seem surprising, but washing meat before cooking can make the problem worse. In fact, by rinsing meat before cooking it increases the risk of cross contamination. As reported by the Canadian Health website, rinsing meat, poultry, or fish under running water before cooking leads to the spread of bacteria, such as Salmonella or C.ampylobacter, other work surfaces, kitchen utensils, or other foods. These bacteria can lead to food poisoning, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), especially since washing meat under running water would be completely unnecessary and doesn’t kill foodborne pathogens.
However, according to a to study published in the Journal of Food Protection, washing the surface of meat with an acidic solution such as vinegar or lemon juice would reduce the number of bacteria on raw meat, compared to washing under running water. Still, the surest way to kill harmful germs is to thoroughly cook meat.
One thing is certain, washing meat does not remove bacteria. These are already present on the surface and can easily spread in your kitchen. These are the best steps to take to limit the risk of contamination.
– Clean surfaces that have been in contact with meat
It is essential to thoroughly clean the surfaces used after preparing or cutting meat. namely: the work plan, the cutting board and the sink. To do this, do not hesitate to spray white vinegar on the different affected areas. Let the product act before wiping with a clean, damp cloth.
– Wash hands after touching raw meat
To reduce the risk of contamination, hands should be washed thoroughly after coming into contact with meat. To do this, use warm soapy water and gently rub your hands together for about twenty seconds.
– Separate raw meat from other foods
Since raw meat contains bacteria, it must be separated from other foods that are ready to eat. By doing so, you will avoid the risk of cross contamination.
– Cook the meat well
The only way to ensure these foods are safe to eat is to cook them thoroughly to the correct internal temperature to kill pathogens..
These meat preparation methods limit the proliferation of bacteria
If you insist on cleaning meat before cooking, there are other, safer ways to accomplish this. As mentioned above, these two-acid tricks can partially reduce the number of bacteria in meat.
– White vinegar to reduce bacteria on meat
It is one of the most common ingredients to clean meat. Due to its high content of acetic acid, it can help reduce bacteria in the meat and tenderize it. To do this, simply marinate the meat in a solution of water and white vinegar before cooking.
– Lemon juice to clean the meat and give it an acid flavor
Lemon can also be effective in reducing bacteria on meat. In a bowl, brush your beef or chicken steaks with lemon or pour the juice of 1-2 lemons over the meat.
Now you know that it is strongly recommended not to wash meat under running water. Only good cooking can eliminate bacteria and limit the risk of cross contamination. Other methods reduce bacteria and prepare meat safely.
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