September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.

In 2001, Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1" was republished in a fortieth anniversary edition, complete with a foreword to the 1983 edition that acknowledged updates in kitchen technology since the book's original edition. Beck and Child noted that they had adapted recipes from the original 1961 version to include the use of food processors, update meat thermometer readings and adjust for shorter-cooking rice and reformulated chocolate.

However, the 2001 edition still includes the advice: "Because commercially raised chickens, on the whole, are packed in a communal tub of ice at least during part of their processing, it is probably wise to give them a thorough washing and drying before storing or cooking - just to be on the safe side." A jacket note from the same printing indicates that the text therein "leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate confection."

Plus it's Julia Child! Her, Beck and Bertholle's masterwork became culinary canon because of its rigorous attention to getting recipes right. That omelette technique works every time. The boeuf Bourguignon recipe is practically the basis for a cult, and while there are likely far fewer consumers are consulting brain blanching methods these days, a goodly chunk of those who do probably have their copy of MtAoFC cracked open to the relevant section. It stands to reason that a home cook would assume that every facet of the guidance offered would stand the test of time - and it may have been assumed accurate in its day.

Oeufs can be trusted to fluff as the decades roll on, but food production practices - and the accompanying safety concerns - are in a constant state of flux.

Child, it should be noted, passed away at the age of 91 in 2004. It would not be out of the realm of strong possibility that the obsessive recipe tester might have revised the text to reflect the updated safety information, had she been just a teensy bit further from the century mark.

But plenty of equally-trusted cooks of the era were in the kitchen with Julia on the topic of poultry-laundering.

The 1953 edition of Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker's "The Joy Of Cooking" (originally published in 1931) counseled at the conclusion of "To Draw a Bird" not to to soak the bird at any time, but rather: "Hold it under running water to clean the insides." While it might seem somewhat antiquated or twee for modern cooks to take as gospel the teachings of a book with a robust aspic and "ring salad" section, "Joy" is a book that takes on more cachet, the more generations it's been handed down through.

A cook could be forgiven for trusting a book with his or her grandmother's notes penned primly in the margin. The same goes for devotees of Betty Crocker's 1958 "Dinner for Two" ("Select roasting chicken or young turkey. Remove any pinfeathers and wash. Pat dry."), or Caroline B. Perry's 1953 classic "The Shaker Cookbook: Not by Bread Alone." ("Select chickens weighing 2 1/2 pounds or a little over, for smaller ones lack flavor and cook up waxy. Wash well and quarter.")

Nine different recipes in home economist Margaret Mitchell's 1958 "Mealtime Magic Cookbook" for Alcoa Wrap Kitchens begin with some variation of "Wash, clean chicken, cut into desired pieces." Mrs. Albert Simons of 1950's "Charleston Receipts" believed a rooster needed a good washing before being "boil(ed) hard" for Faber's Pilau. Even actor Alfred Lunt hopped on the chicken cleansing train with his Chicken Paprika recipe in the 1948 "The Celebrities Cookbook." ("Wash and disjoint chicken, cutting into portions for serving.")

Toss one more on the fire? Fine: no less an expert than Fannie Merritt Farmer advised in the 1929 edition of "The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book":

"Remove oil bag, and wash bird by allowing cold water to run through it, not allowing bird to soak in cold water. Wipe inside and outside, looking carefully to see that everything has been withdrawn. If there is disagreeable odor, suggesting that fowl may have been kept too long, clean at one, wash inside and out with soda water, and sprinkle inside with charcoal, and place some under wings." [Editor's note: If this even needs to be said, don't try this one at home.]

By 1972, gourmand and cookbook author James Beard made chicken washing contingent upon its origins. While lamenting about the loss of flavor he attributed to modern poultry raising methodology, Beard found one thing to crow about in his "American Cookery":

"However, these nine-weeks wonders are beautiful to look at, perfectly drawn and cleaned, and come so pure they do not even have to be washed before cooking...There was once a time when chicken was a Sunday dinner dish and could be found in most homes stuffed and roasted, stewed with dumplings, or fried and served with cream gravy. Now it is daily food, propagandized for its low calorie count."

Just several pages later, Beard paid homage to these heavy, homey dishes with recipes for sumptuous, long-stewed Country Captain, Stuffed Poached Chicken and Country-Style White Fricassee. He cited chicken washing in each of those, but not for any fried variation, Chicken California or anything involving poaching. American cooks, it seemed, were testing their wings, but not yet ready to fly away from the faucet completely.

Nowadays, there's nary a peep about chicken washing, even in poultry-centric cookbooks, unless it's a caveat against the practice. Cooks Illustrated's 1999 "The Complete Book of Chicken" makes no mention of it, and the tenth anniversary edition of Mark Bittman's food bible "How to Cook Everything" relies on general kitchen cleanliness (including lots of hand washing) and obsessive attention to temperature to ensure the annihilation of harmful bacteria like salmonella.

Better Homes and Gardens, however, knows how far you've come together, and how hard it is to let go of the past. The plaid-bound workhorse of a cookbook could be found in one million American kitchens by its eighth anniversary in 1938 and has now sold more than 34 million copies. It seems almost like a civic duty for the editors to lay it out plainly:

"Rinsing poultry and meat is not necessary. The less you handle it the better."

Maybe...just maybe, the flock will finally follow.

- Fast facts on salmonella

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Consumer resources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration's Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts
FDA Food Safety
FoodSafety.gov
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Education
IsItDoneYet.gov

More on food poisoning from CNN Health and all foodborne illness coverage on Eatocracy



soundoff (471 Responses)
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    July 11, 2014 at 12:52 am |
  2. juantenorio

    I wash ALL food before eating it or cooking it, as thoroughly as possible.

    Most people wash vegetables (I hope): if you don't think that carrot you saw the grocery man drop on the floor, start to step on, and then pick up and toss back in the bin, is not safe to eat without washing it, what makes you think a raw chicken has not been treated the same way, or worse?

    Meat handlers work with knives and any meat you get might have human blood on it.

    That same human might have sneezed on it. Picked his nose while working. Not washed his hands after using the bathroom.

    And then there are the insecticides that are to be found in ANY food processing facility, no matter how organic or humanely processed the meat is supposed to be.

    June 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
    • Steve

      Absolutely I agree with you 100%

      June 30, 2014 at 7:04 am |
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    June 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
  4. endeavor43

    Foghorn Leghorn wrote: "This is, I say this is the kind of stuff up with which I will not put."
    Thank you, Winston Churchill.

    June 20, 2014 at 12:20 am |
  5. ElizabethB

    Speaking of gross, I was watching "Martha Bakes" this morning. She was kneading bread and kept wiping her hair back with her hands. Gross. I'm glad she'll never invite me to eat at her home

    June 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  6. gerio

    I keep a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide at the sink to wash chicken, lettuce, all raw vegetables and fruits-- and to clean sink and counter tops.

    June 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  7. luvUamerica

    I absolutely agree with this. But I would still soak the chicken in salt water or lemon water, to remove preservetives and other chemicals that producers put on the meat. I don't wash them, but soak them and throw the water way, then marinade the chicken and cook it. I know the bacteria is not going to go away. I also take care to do it in the sink, then wash everything off with soap and hot water. It is habitual practice one should develop.

    June 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  8. Foghorn Leghorn

    I wash my feet in soda water, like Mrs Porter and her dorter.

    June 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • maria

      They are NOT talking abut your stinky feet they talking about poultry ...unless you feet are chickens............

      June 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • Chicken Hawk

        Don't you even know who Foghorn Leghorn is? He's a big chicken...and I'm a chicken hawk....and I'm going to catch him and eat him ....

        June 30, 2014 at 7:16 am |
        • Thinking things through

          Will you wash him first???

          June 30, 2014 at 7:55 am |
  9. maria

    I always wash poultry, and meats when I do that I immediately put in a plate ready to cook ,my chicken or meat doesn't walk around spreading germs , I don't know what they talking about...I wash my hands after that and starting preparing the meal is all ,common sense is necessary indeed, I am in my 70's and I will not change my way ,it is just talking, I will continue washing my poultry and meat period! and my hands of course!

    June 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
  10. PushingBack

    Cooking it will kill any bacteria any how – if you bring it up to the right temperature. Plus, bacteria on the surface is subjected to much higher temps anyhow as the heat is radiated inwards. Personally, I think it's a waste of time. For the matter, I don't wash my filets or ribeyes either!

    June 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  11. dappledview

    I miss the old Joy of Cooking editions that told you how to clean and skin a squirrel. That didn't make any 21st century editions.

    June 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  12. meitis

    I only wash because the processing of the chicken itself does a terrible job of removal of kidneys from the bird.

    June 19, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  13. yora nidiot

    .. of course, wash your chicken. THEN, wash the area of the sink with hot soapy water as you clean up. People are so freaking stupid if they believe this article. Wait 20 years, and it'll be back to "you need to wash your bird"... America is now officially a state of DUH

    June 19, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Erin

      I wash chicken because it comes wrapped in plastic which contains chemicals. I want to remove the max plastic chemicals that may have seeped into my food.

      June 19, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • maria

      Exactly ,I a doing that all my life , my family and I never get sick ,is all baloney I do the same you do just wash your hands and the counter if you put it there , I prefer to put it in a shallow dish and immediately prepare ,the poultry and the meat doesn't walk around spreading germs ....this article is all baloney! raised my kids doing it and not one was sick at all!

      June 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      *America is now officially a state of DUH

      And if you can't, I say, if you can't trust "Yora Nidiot" to detect some DUH, something is seriously wrong.

      June 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
  14. Rik

    I usually wash my chicken while I'm in the shower. It saves me a lot of time.

    June 19, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Gigi

      I like your style, Rik

      June 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
  15. relmfoxdale

    I've never heard of washing chicken. That's weird. I've possibly rinsed bits of scale off of fish, and I've certainly dried pork and chicken off before dusting it, but seriously? Washing? Also, fun fact: salmonella needs water to live. If it lands on a surface and then that spot dries up, your problem is over. You don't need cleaning fluids to deal with it.

    June 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • Jay

      Well well....wash the chicken huh? I've been doing it wrong all these years.

      June 19, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • Jackson

      Not entirely true. Due to waters ability to form microscopic beads/pockets even when a surface looks dry it may not be and S. Enterica can still survive. Your best bet to kill S. Enterica on surfaces is bleach. Soap and water only wash the bugs away, some of which can still be left behind in the residue. Bleach kills all. especially when left on surface for at least 10 minutes.

      June 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
  16. therealchiffonade

    If Anne Burrell doesn't wash chicken, I don't need to.

    June 19, 2014 at 11:02 am |
  17. Kay Cera

    I've washed my poultry and meat since I began cooking over 40 years ago and have never gotten sick from it. I wash it to get rid of the blood and mucus like stuff on the food. Who wants that in their food? I think everyone should assume that their sink isn't clean anyway.
    Also, do you wash your vegetables? There's bacteria on them but of course we wash them to remove the dirt. What's the difference? There are a multitude of bacteria in soil.

    June 19, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • jmlivingston

      Exactly! I wash almost all my meat before cooking, not to clean bacteria away but to make sure any bone chips, membranes, and other undesirable "gunk" has been removed.

      June 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Charles Iam

    If you can't wash it, you shouldn't eat it.

    June 19, 2014 at 9:49 am |
    • Blues Bro

      That's what she said – bow, bow, bow.

      June 19, 2014 at 10:19 am |
      • Kier

        Have you ever heard of a wish sandwich?

        June 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • Josette

          Rubber Bisquit...!

          June 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  19. My Too Senseworth

    I wash meat to get rid of the bone dust and fragments that they do not always remove before packaging. In addition to that I do not allow raw meat to contaminate anything. I have experienced food borne illness and it always happened because of eating at a restaurant. They should teach proper food preparation and handling. (They want to pay these under trained fast food workers $15.00/hour. I would rather save my health and cook it myself.)
    Humans have been feeding themselves for a long time before experts and or governments decided it was their job to decide what we eat. The ones that did not understand how to prepare food, removed themselves from the gene pool.
    I would not eat food prepared by the chefs I see on TV. Their sanitation practices are totally unacceptable.

    June 19, 2014 at 9:39 am |
  20. Funny

    It's my chicken and I'll wash it as fast as I want!

    June 19, 2014 at 9:29 am |
  21. SdW

    CNN is not a culinary arts school and NO ONE should be taking advice from the LW/CNN on how to deal with raw chicken. Raw chicken should be considered POISON before it is cooked. Take every precaution if you can which includes rinsing. And where does CNN get off by telling us this is now inappropriate? Where is the objective proof? People have been washing chicken for hundreds of years but of course, CNN in all its self-serviing glory now tells us it is wrong? Becausse of cross-contanimation? LOLOL,,,As a cook, you're supposed to wash your kitchen and wipe off everything regardless of what you're cooking.

    June 19, 2014 at 8:19 am |
    • John

      The advice isn't from CNN, it's from the department of Agriculture.

      The science is sound. No amount of washing will remove bacteria from raw chicken. So all washing it does is raise the potential for bacteria to spread to other surfaces in your kitchen. And even if you think you've cleaned all of the surfaces that may have been splattered by contaminated water, it's likely that you've missed stuff, since microscopic droplets of water can be sprayed anywhere.

      On the other hand, cooking chicken to the correct temperature is guaranteed to remove bacteria.

      I've been grilling chicken 2-4 times a week for the past 10 years or so and I've yet to wash the chicken, or infect anyone with a foodborne illness.

      June 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
  22. Will

    I don't wash it because of germs. I wash it because I know that the processing plants aren't as clean as people like to imagine.

    June 19, 2014 at 6:19 am |
    • Eric

      Any bacteria from the factory will be killed by cooking the chicken. Rinsing it off with water isn't going to kill any bacteria. It might get rid of some, but cooking will get rid of it all, so why even bother?

      June 19, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • Ally

        It has nothing to do with bacteria. I rinse off any non-food bits that sometimes are in the package. Bits of bone, any blood left in there, the occasional feather or hair. I don't "clean" the bird. Just rinse off if something foreign is on there.

        June 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • maria

      Exactly, I just rinse I don't use soap of course just rinse not matter how cleaned is the poultry ,fish or meat is necessary to clean or rinse is what I do !

      June 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
  23. bd

    Yes, BUT, NOT UNDER THE FAUCET : I take a bowl of water and gently wash my chicken in it to both clean the chicken and to reduce splatter.

    June 19, 2014 at 2:45 am |
  24. Jayakumar

    Of course I wash my chicken or any other meat. I dont like the flavor of blood and that of the processed frozen food. Washing helps to remove that.

    June 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
  25. Victoria

    I rinse the pieces or whole bird in a separate basin and squeeze lemon juice onto them or pour vinegar and water into the basin and allow the chicken to soak for a few minutes...wipe down surfaces around the sink after with Clorox or Lysol wipes or diluted vinegar, if you're trying to stay "green." I have never gotten food poisoning or given food poisoning to anyone via this method, which is from the Caribbean where my parents are from. Use a separate cutting board for trimming meat that is exclusively used for just that. Season as usual after you dump the germy water and bake/fry/broil it until it is cooked all of the way ( no pink!)..it's not rocket science.

    June 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  26. Dynamic

    Just think of all that extra bacterial protein! YUM!

    June 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
  27. Debs

    **Gross out alert** I remember reading an article by a journalist who went 'undercover' as a worker in a poultry processing plant. She got herself hired at the plant, then wrote a story about it. Among other interesting details, she mentioned that the temperature in the processing plant was kept so low that the employees who handled the raw poultry all had runny noses from the cold. Of course they couldn't touch their noses, so where do you suppose some of the drips ended up? Now if THAT doesn't gross you out...

    June 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
  28. Cosmo

    I found if you wash your food while taking a shower you can save a lot of water and time at kitchen cleanup. Try washing cooking utensils while showering and find out just how much time you can save.

    June 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • SdW

      Hey great idea. And while you're at it, peeing in the shower saves water too. LOL

      June 19, 2014 at 8:20 am |
  29. CLOWN

    I buy pre cooked chicken ready to eat. :)

    June 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
  30. Schmedley

    meh. I've been rinsing my chicken for 25 years and nothing bad has ever happened.

    June 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
    • Buck

      Let them eat anecdotes!

      June 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
      • Steve

        The Same Chicken?
        men. I’ve been rinsing my chicken for 25 years and nothing bad has ever happened.

        June 19, 2014 at 7:04 am |
        • Captain Obvious

          If it's the "same" chicken he's been choking, then yes.

          June 19, 2014 at 7:06 am |
        • Foghorn Leghorn

          On behalf of chickens everywhere, I thank, I say I thank you for your support.

          June 19, 2014 at 8:44 am |
    • JLM

      Me too!

      June 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  31. endeavor43

    ajk1968 wrote: "The usage of "to" and the end of a sentence could be classified as a dangling preposition."
    Actually, in this case "to" is not a preposition but an integral part of an infinitive.

    June 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
    • Slimbo

      Suck it....this isn't a classroom ya goof!

      June 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • endeavor43

        Suck it yerself ignoramus! I was responding to someone else's grammar comment.

        June 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      This is, I say this is the kind of stuff up with which I will not put.

      June 19, 2014 at 8:45 am |
  32. Joe

    Other: I raise and butcher my own backyard chicken.

    June 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
  33. kzooresident

    I wash chicken for plenty of reasons however none of them have anything to do with bacteria paranoia. Number one is that I want the marinade and/or spices in and getting the layer of protein "slime" off is part of getting the penetration right.
    Cross contamination is not an issue except in kitchens occupied by idiots.

    June 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  34. Weeds

    This article prompted me to read articles and watch videos about processing chicken plants. This video, tho not in the US, I think represents the best practices used in the US. This country bought all the machinery from US countries. The only variation I see is in this video the chicken are not electrically stunned before killed. Watch it and make your own decision about how you want to prepare your poultry products. All I know is a butcher told me that after her years working in an upscale meat department, she always rinses all of her meat produce because she knows what goes on in best of places.
    Chicken processing begins around 5:30 into the video.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHhXpRq06Oo&w=640&h=390]

    June 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
    • Weeds

      US countries = US companies doh

      June 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
  35. drbobmdphd

    Wash your meat. Then wash everything the washwater has contacted with hot water and soap. Including your hands.

    June 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
    • Slimbo

      And if all else fails, choke your chicken

      June 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
      • Chokey

        Even if it suck seeds!

        June 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  36. Pympjuice

    I could care less what the Dept of Whatever says. I clean my chicken every time before I eat it. If you like dark meat like I do, do you see how much fat is in the thighs? No way in hell I'm eating that without cleaning it off first. Reluctantly, I've since stopped eating at fried chicken restaurants like KFC, Popeye's, and Harold's because they don't clean their meat either. Imagine eating all that fat for a lifetime. NO FN WAY!!

    June 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  37. Adam

    Too, not "to"...
    Shouldn't a writer for CNN know this?

    June 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • Kristin

      I, too, paused at the "to." But, alas, it is correct for it is the end of the thought, "told us to." :)

      June 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
      • Kat Kinsman

        Yup! "Told us to."

        On occasion, the grammar scolds are correct, but not in this instance.

        June 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • ajk1968

          The usage of "to" and the end of a sentence could be classified as a dangling preposition. Some grammarians frown on this.

          June 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • ajk1968

          They would also frown at my typo. "and"="at"

          June 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • Grammar Laughs

          Grammar Laugh 1-
          Laura: "Where's the party at?
          Sheila: "You're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition."
          Laura: "Where's the party at, biotch?

          Grammar Laugh 2-
          Sue: "Where's the party at?
          Lisa: "After the 'at'."

          June 19, 2014 at 7:33 am |
  38. Patrick Watson

    If it is not in a can or completely frozen, wash it. Wash it thoroughly and completely, AND cook it thoroughly and completely.

    Chances are that foodstuff was handled by someone with poop on their hands, a poor, low-education, or someone who generally doesn't understand cause-and-effect.

    The best thing you can do is either: (1) Buy your food from high-end stores where you can be sure the lumpen have not handled it; or, (2) Wash the food thoroughly and cook it until it is shitbug dead.

    June 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
    • taurwennarser

      Can you catch poorness, or low-education from unwashed chicken?

      June 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
      • Lumpyintx

        No, but maybe you can catch affluenza...lol

        June 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  39. Cupid

    I always thought washing the chicken was a fowl idea. If you cook the bird so all the meat inside gets white, the temp. to accomplish this will kill everything.

    June 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
    • Will

      It doesn't kill the feces that was in the wash water.

      June 19, 2014 at 6:23 am |
  40. Yakobi

    Get this...on the same website, the USDA says this about washing fruits & vegetables:

    "Before eating or preparing, wash fresh produce under cold running tap water to remove any lingering dirt. This reduces bacteria that may be present. If there is a firm surface, such as on apples or potatoes, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush. Consumers should not wash fruits and vegetables with detergent or soap. These products are not approved or labeled by the Food and Drug Administration for use on foods. You could ingest residues from soap or detergent absorbed on the produce. When preparing fruits and vegetables, cut away any damaged or bruised areas because bacteria that cause illness can thrive in those places. Immediately refrigerate any fresh-cut items such as salad or fruit for best quality and food safety."

    June 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Soaking them in bleach water is perfectly fine though. Especially if they were fertilized with water from the benjo ditch.

      June 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
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