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Public health experts: 'Don't Wash Your Chicken!'

Friday - 8/30/2013, 12:07pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Plenty of recipes from well-known chefs, including Julia Child herself, call for a chicken to be washed and patted dry before preparation.

But a new public health campaign is warning against this method.

Drexel University and New Mexico State University's "Don't Wash Your Chicken!" campaign says rinsing raw poultry before it's cooked is unsafe.

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, an associate professor at Drexel University who helped develop the campaign, says when poultry is rinsed, it's more likely for bacteria to splatter and contaminate kitchen surfaces, as well as other foods near the sink.

Just rinsing raw poultry with water is not enough to kill the bacteria in the first place, according to the campaign.

The effort stems out of research funded by the United States Department of Agriculture to help identify and limit food safety risks among minority populations. Its materials, which include mini-dramas and photonovellas, tell the public that the cooking process will kill any bacteria that is present.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also warns against washing raw meat and poultry for the same reason.

Many chefs and cooks may not share the same thoughts about campaign. TV chef Alton Brown told blogger Michael Ruhlman that "we all need to calm the f*** down!".

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