Do you have a meat thermometer in your kitchen gadget drawer? If not, you may want to get one. A study done by Consumer Reports (1) revealed that the raw chicken we buy is filled with more dangerous bacteria than it was just three years ago. A stunning 83% of chickens tested had been contaminated with salmonella or campylobacter — pathogens that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. This number was a huge increase from the 49% that were found to be contaminated three years ago.
These bacteria can be destroyed by cooking your chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Handling raw chicken carefully is more important that ever. Choose packages that are well wrapped at the grocery store, so the juices don’t leak onto your other groceries. Keep the chicken wrapped and away from other fresh foods in your refrigerator. Wash and keep separate everything that comes in contact with the raw chicken during preparation, including the cutting board, knives, and any wipes you use to clean up spills. Wash your hands frequently and disinfect your counter tops when you’re done. The article even suggests that you keep one hand clean, so that you don’t spread bacteria to your soap dispenser or faucet. Always cook your chicken to 165 degrees.
These are all guidelines we’re all supposed to be following anyway. This new information just highlights that raw poultry deserves special care during preparation to turn it into a safe, healthy, delicious meal.