How to Safely Handle Raw Chicken

Do I need to rinse or wash my chicken?
  • You do not need to rinse chicken before cooking it. Rinsing does not make chicken safer to eat. Only properly cooking chicken makes it safe to eat.
  • Rinsing can send tiny droplets of chicken juice onto your sink and surrounding surfaces. This can result in contaminating other foods, your sink, cooking utensils, and counter surfaces.
  • After working with raw chicken, wash counters, work surfaces, cutting boards, sinks, and utensils with hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher and periodically sanitize with a weak bleach solution.
  • Preparing a weak bleach solution: In a labelled spray bottle, mix 1 tsp (5 ml) bleach with 3 cups (750 ml) of water. Spray items and let them air dry.
  • Thoroughly wash hands before, during, and after handling raw chicken. Use hot water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday”).

How can I avoid cross contamination?

Package and separate: When you’re storing raw foods in the fridge, place them in sealed containers or plastic bags on the bottom shelf or in a designated drawer.

Marinades: When marinating, discard any leftover liquid. Make sure to wash and sanitize your brush or use separate brushes when marinating raw and cooked foods. If you want to use a marinade for basting or as a sauce, set aside some of the marinade before pouring over the raw chicken. Only use marinade that has not come into contact with the raw chicken for basting or dipping.

Rubs and spices: Discard any spice mix or dry rub that has come into contact with raw chicken.

Cutting board safety: When using a cutting board, it’s important to wash it with hot, soapy water and regularly sanitize it with a weak solution of bleach and water. Use different cutting boards for meat and poultry, fruits, vegetables, and bread. Have a dedicated cutting board for meat and poultry. Do not use a wood cutting board for meats, they are porous and create ideal environments for bacteria to grow. Instead use glass, plastic or acrylic cutting boards that are dishwasher safe and can be sanitized with a weak bleach solution.

Should you wear gloves when handling raw chicken?

It isn’t necessary to wear gloves on your hands while handling raw chicken as long as you properly wash your hands afterwards.

If you have a cut on your hand, it may be a good idea to wear disposable gloves while working with any raw meat to prevent infection.