Should you wash or not wash the meat before cooking it? Opinions differ on this. When some think that it reduces the risk of contamination by bacteria, others, on the contrary, believe that cooking is sufficient to consume healthy meat. Here are some answers.
Just like with fruits and vegetables, washing meat is an almost natural reflex. However, this seemingly logical action raises many questions. Although some research has shown the danger of this, some people still do it as a precaution.
Should the meat be rinsed before each cooking?
One thing is sure, wash meatrunning water does not make it cleaner or healthier. It would even seem that washing the meat under running water is at the origin of the spread of bacteria. Alexandra Retion, nutritionist and dietician, explains for the magazine Current Woman, the disadvantages of this practice.
– Washing meat poses a risk of bacteria proliferation
It may seem surprising, but washing the meat before cooking can make the problem worse. In fact, by rinsing the meat before cooking it, you increase the risk of cross-contamination. As relayed by the Canadian Health website, rinsing meat, poultry or fish with running water before cooking leads to the spread of bacteria, such as Salmonella or Campylobacter, other work surfaces, kitchen utensils or other foods. These bacteria can lead to food poisoning, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), especially since washing meat under running water would be completely unnecessary and does not eliminate foodborne pathogens.
However, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Protection, washing the surface of meat with an acidic solution such as vinegar or lemon juice would reduce the number of bacteria on raw meat, compared to washing with running water. Still, the surest way to eliminate harmful germs is to cook meat thoroughly.
One thing is certain, washing meat does not eliminate bacteria. These are already present on the surface and can easily spread in your kitchen. Here are the best things to do to limit the risk of contamination.
– Clean surfaces that have been in contact with meat
It is essential to thoroughly clean the surfaces used after preparing or cutting the meat namely: the work plan, the cutting board and the sink. For this, do not hesitate to spray white vinegar on the different areas concerned. Let the product act before wiping with a clean, damp cloth.
– Wash hands after touching raw meat
To reduce the risk of contamination, hands should be washed thoroughly after coming into contact with meat. To do this, use warm soapy water and gently rub your hands for about twenty seconds.
– Separate raw meat from other foods
Since raw meat contains bacteria, it should be separated from other foods that are ready to eat. By doing so, you will avoid the risk of cross-contamination.
– Cook the meat well
The only way to ensure these foods are safe to eat is to thoroughly cook them to the correct interior temperature to kill pathogens..
These meat preparation methods limit the proliferation of bacteria
If you insist on cleaning the meat before cooking it, there are other safer ways to achieve this. As mentioned above, these tricks based on two acid solutions can partially reduce the amount of bacteria on the meat.
– White vinegar to reduce bacteria on meat
It is one of the most common ingredients for cleaning meat. Due to its high acetic acid content, it can help reduce bacteria on the meat and tenderize it. For this, it suffices to marinate the meat in a solution of water and white vinegar before cooking.
– Lemon juice to clean the meat and give it an acid flavor
Lemon may also be effective in reducing bacteria in meat. In a container, brush your beef or chicken steaks with lemon or pour the juice of 1 to 2 lemons over the meat.
You now know that it is strongly advised not to wash meat under running water. Only good cooking can eliminate bacteria and limit the risk of cross-contamination. Other methods reduce bacteria and prepare meat safely.