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Researchers from Drexel University are warning the public to stop washing their chicken because it is ineffective in killing germs and can spread bacteria, according to NBC News.

Using an animation dubbed “Germ-Vision,” the clinicians demonstrate how bacteria can ride on misting water droplets and splatter over the area where food is prepared. The range where the droplets can land extends as far as two to three feet, according to the animation.

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, an associate professor in the nutrition department at Drexel, spearheaded the public awareness campaign funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant. For years, the USDA has warned consumers about the dangers of rinsing chicken. The warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears, as a reported 90 percent of the population still refuse to stop rinsing chicken, according to Quinlan.

The fowl’s sliminess when taken out of the package is the main reason why so many people insist on washing it, Quinlan added.

Another possible reason why many consumers refuse to part ways with washing chicken is because the habit was passed down to them from previous generations. Quinlan states that, according to the study’s focus groups, the most common verbal excuse for washing the fowl was “that’s how I was taught to do it.”

Quinlan is adamant that, “It does not get rid of the bacteria. It does not kill the bacteria. However, there is a chance that it will spray that bacteria called aerosolization. Once you introduce water, you start to give bacteria a way to move around.”

So what is recommended with regards to cleaning your bird? Nada!

The USDA recommends that when handling chicken, consumers should follow the following safety rules:

  • CLEAN. Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • SEPARATE. Do not let raw poultry or its juices touch other foods.
  • COOK. Cook poultry to the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer. (Proper cooking will destroy any bacteria present on raw poultry)
  • CHILL. Refrigerate poultry promptly.

Watch the “Germ-Vision” animation below:

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