Cooks have long been of two minds as to whether uncooked meat and poultry should be washed before cooking. Fueling the debate anew, the latest federal dietary guidelines caution against washing or rinsing these foods.
Now, in their June 2005 issue, the editors of the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter put this culinary conundrum to rest with this explanation. “In the case of meat and poultry, the risk of cross-contamination from handling the food as it’s washed outweighs any benefits,” they write. “The best bet is to leave meat or poultry untouched until you start cooking it, then immediately dispose of its supermarket packaging, which can also cause cross-contamination.”