Are you handling raw chicken the wrong way?

By Priyanka Boghani


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Americans eat 8 billion chickens a year. That’s right — billion with a “B.”

But about one in four pieces of raw chicken carry salmonella, and salmonella from poultry sickens 200,000 Americans a year, according to government data.

Handling chicken properly and cooking it well is supposed to get rid of the salmonella. However, a recent study found that while preparing to cook their chicken, people often make mistakes that can cause them to unknowingly contaminate their kitchen.

The 56 households that participated in the study seemed to know how to handle raw poultry — based on their responses to a questionnaire from the study’s authors. But when it came to the actual prepping of raw chicken, all of them were observed making mistakes that risked spreading salmonella around their counters, sinks or utensils.

Eyob Mazengia was among the team of researchers who worked on the study, which was published in Food Protection Trends Journal in January.

“People are not aware of how they are cross-contaminating their kitchen surfaces,” Mazengia told FRONTLINE. “People’s knowledge level is high … but their actual practices were much lower in terms of food safety.”

“There’s a gap in the system,” he said. “Consumers are receiving products that they are not safely able to handle.”

So the question is, do you know how to safely handle your raw chicken? Watch the video below to see if you are making the same common mistakes observed in the study.