Why You Shouldn't Wash Raw Chicken

The CDC is warning people not to wash raw chicken and spread germs through their kitchens.

Just like many other foods, raw chicken should be washed before it's prepared, right? The government says no way.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people not to rinse their raw bird meat before throwing it on a pan. "Don’t wash your raw chicken! Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen," the agency wrote on Twitter last month.

This sent social media into a frenzy, with some people reply that the CDC "sounds crazy" and that it would "never grace your dinner table" if you didn't wash raw chicken.

But the CDC held its ground. "We didn’t mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken! But it’s true: Kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it. You shouldn’t wash any poultry, meat, or eggs before cooking. They can all spread germs around your kitchen. Don’t wing food safety!"

So what's the proper way to handle raw chicken?

Lead Chef Barara Rich and food expert Alejandra Ramos at New York's Institute of Culinary Education gave Inside Edition some important tips for keeping your kitchen clean and your food safe for eating.

Ramos said raw chicken is covered in harmful bacteria, potentially salmonella. And when the chicken is put under running water, the water can splash over the sink and counter, carrying the bacteria with it and contaminating the kitchen.

To test this, Inside Edition producer Alison Hall sprayed a raw chicken with fluorescent gel and then put it under the faucet. With a black light, she could see the water had splashed the gel all over the faucet, sink and counter.

Rich said cooking is the only way to get rid of the harmful bacteria. She said people should always cook chicken to 165 degrees.

She also suggested to use separate cutting boards when preparing raw meat and other foods to prevent cross-contamination. And people should always wash their hands before and after handling raw meat.