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Old 09-06-2008, 05:48 AM   #1
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Preparing a chicken basics

This is a public service announcement due to *appendix A* below.

Preparing a chicken or turkey from the store.
If it is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator, finish thawing by letting cool water run over and through it until it is thawed at least on the outside and on the interior cavity. Or thaw by letting it sit in a sink of cool water submerged until thawed. Do not let it become warm.
Remove it from the plastic wrap.
REMOVE the paper and plastic pad from the outside that it sat on.
Wash the chicken. Rinse it with water, inside and out, some rinse it with slightly soapy water using a little dish detergent and water to remove the oils and any chance of bacteria picked up in the food processing plant.
REMOVE the giblet bag, made of plastic or paper.
Pat the chicken dry. (or the turkey)
Proceed to your recipe.

*Appendix A* I spent the evening taking slow cooked chicken off the bone, and had to fish out the giblet bag and the plastic and paper pad that was below the chicken, because the helper didn't realize they had to be removed or they existed before they put them in the slow cooker. I don't even want to go into the lecture about food poisoning from not washing the poultry, the wrongness of cooking in plastic, or having foreign objects in your food, but feel free! Sheesh! I wouldn't have posted but this is obviously not common knowledge.
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:36 AM   #2
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Washing poultry is not necessary, or even effective, to prevent food poisoning; cooking the food sufficiently will kill any pathogens.

I don't know the age of your helper, but this mistake has been made by millions of new cooks for generations - at least, since processed chickens became available in grocery stores, so that the giblets, etc., were not separated from the bird by the cook him/herself.
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Washing poultry is not necessary, or even effective, to prevent food poisoning; cooking the food sufficiently will kill any pathogens.
I agree with this completely, but will go one step further. It can actually be dangerous to wash your chicken or turkey. The reason is cross contamination. The water hitting the meat can and does splash all over the place, even if you do not see it happening. If you have a contaminated bird then you just spread that contamination to the sink, counter, backsplash, and anywhere else the water hit. The FDA recommends against washing your chicken or turkey for this reason.

Of course the OP mentioned using soapy water so if you do it that way then it is actually pretty safe, but I would not want to eat meat that has been washed in soap personally. Have you ever tasted soap Even the smallest amount would ruin your meal.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Even the multitude of citrus flavored soaps on the market?
I think it's a great idea to be able to clean and marinate your bird all in one step. I just read the back of a bottle of dishsoap with grapefruit added and it doesn't say not to eat it....
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Blissful - I have quietly removed that cooked bag of neck/giblets, etc. before carving a turkey several times.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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Well, I respectfully disagree and will continue to rinse out my chickens or wash them depending on the degree of yukkiness under the wrap as just one more step in serving safe food. Using soap on chicken is no different than using soap on your skin and rinsing it -- and I'm sure I have no residue on my skin. Want to taste?

I must say that I and others that I've cooked with have never had the taste of soap or detergent left on the chicken or turkey, which would result from poor rinsing. So that's a bad assumption. This has irrepairably hurt my feelings and I'll have to quit cooking forever now.

Basic kitchen cleanliness for cross contamination could be an issue but I'm not blind and I disinfect all food preparation areas in my kitchen. Doesn't everyone or should we just make the assumption that most people don't know any better?

My exMIL has poisoned people with turkey, she is of the mind, that washing chicken and turkey are wrong too, though I cannot say that it was due to not washing the turkey, it may have been poor thawing or cooking technique.

I have tasted bad chicken though, from certain processing plants using chemical baths which linger on the chicken and I won't buy them from those plants anymore. Chicken should taste *just like chicken*, or frog legs

**my helper was 56 and had never bought a whole chicken from the store in their life--which I find almost unbelievable.
**my son at 16 did this, which is more understandable, but he only did it once.
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
Well, I respectfully disagree and will continue to rinse out my chickens or wash them depending on the degree of yukkiness under the wrap as just one more step in serving safe food. Using soap on chicken is no different than using soap on your skin and rinsing it -- and I'm sure I have no residue on my skin. Want to taste?
Well, except that you don't cook your skin afterward, and scientists will tell you that it's the action of washing, along with the water rinsing dirt, etc., away, and not soap, that cleans your hands. But no problem - to each their own.

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My exMIL has poisoned people with turkey, she is of the mind, that washing chicken and turkey are wrong too, though I cannot say that it was due to not washing the turkey, it may have been poor thawing or cooking technique.
I did not say it was "wrong," just not necessary. I've never washed chicken or turkey in the 25 or so years I've been cooking; I've hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in my home countless times and no one has ever gotten sick afterward. But again, to each their own. If it makes you feel better, go ahead. To me, it's a waste of time and water.
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:29 PM   #8
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Well, except that you don't cook your skin afterward, and scientists will tell you that it's the action of washing, along with the water rinsing dirt, etc., away, and not soap, that cleans your hands. But no problem - to each their own.
Okay this is a learning place I'd like to learn something, what can you teach me?
I make soap, I've studied chem engineering and organic chemistry, you see, I know like dissolves like, bacteria hidden in oil is washed away when you put soap in contact with an oily substance, bacteria encapulated in that oily substance, the water only helps carry it away. I DON'T see that water alone will wash it away because water and oil are separate and they are like the water in oil in salad dressing.
I have an open mind and I have humility when I am wrong (which I hope is often as it leads to learning) so I ask you to provide some documentation or knowledge to support your statement that 'scientists will tell you it's the action of washing with the water rincing dirt, etc. away, and not soap, that cleans you hands.'
I ask this because in some regards I am a scientist of physics, math, chemistry, and information systems.
I'll read your links or research and give it due diligence, because I believe you have a point you are trying to make that I will consider, though I might not believe every link you provide, you should not in turn believe every link I would provide.
And so, can you back up your statement? In the spirit of trying to learn new things?
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:19 PM   #9
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Okay this is a learning place I'd like to learn something, what can you teach me?...
And so, can you back up your statement? In the spirit of trying to learn new things?
Hi, blissful. You're right, and I do apologize. I either misunderstood or misremembered whatever it was I read, because the only thing close I can find is that sanitizing gels aren't as good (that's not to say no good at all) as soap and water for hand-washing, because there is no water action rinsing the germs and dirt off the hands.

Thanks for encouraging me to think it over more carefully and look for documentation - I do appreciate the friendly nudge to verify what I said

I still think, though, that as long as it's properly cooked, it's not necessary to rinse or wash poultry before cooking. Unless you have documentation to the contrary?
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
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Hi, blissful. You're right, and I do apologize. I either misunderstood or misremembered whatever it was I read, because the only thing close I can find is that sanitizing gels aren't as good (that's not to say no good at all) as soap and water for hand-washing, because there is no water action rinsing the germs and dirt off the hands.

Thanks for encouraging me to think it over more carefully and look for documentation - I do appreciate the friendly nudge to verify what I said

I still think, though, that as long as it's properly cooked, it's not necessary to rinse or wash poultry before cooking. Unless you have documentation to the contrary?
Hi Got Garlic, no need to apologize at all, I really just want some understanding on what is right and why. I have read many websites and I don't believe everything I read, some say don't bother washing, some say just cook properly and some say we use 'this' to 'treat' our chickens before we put them in the stores (this=chlorine, and other chemicals). There are also horror stories about food packaging plants and the handling methods they use, many different problems and methods. There isn't much about proper handling once they are brought home. This is why I wash my chickens and turkeys and hope it helps in some regards. I do, however, understand your choice not to wash the poultry.
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