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Do you wash poultry, meat and fish before frying or cooking them? In which cases you should definitely not do this and why dabbing is usually sufficient, you can find out here.

Status: 02/17/2021 | archive

A tiny germ causes a great stir in the food sector at regular intervals. Campylobacter is the name of the pathogen that, depending on the examination, is found on every third or even every second pack of chicken from the supermarket or discounter. It causes diarrheal diseases, which can be very dangerous, especially for children as well as the elderly and immunocompromised people. It originally comes from the gastrointestinal tract of the chicken - but it can end up on the meat during slaughter, where it reproduces rapidly at a favorable temperature.

Should you wash poultry before roasting?

Anyone who hopes to be able to rub the germs off the chicken under the running tap is wrong, however. Food experts even expressly warn against washing poultry - because this is the only way to spread the pathogens in the kitchen:

"When you wash the chicken, the splash of water with the germs can also hit the sink, the boards and all kitchen utensils."

Heidrun Schubert, nutrition expert at the Bavarian Consumer Center

Later, the lettuce may be washed in the sink, the herbs or tomatoes chopped up on the cutting board - and the pathogens land directly on your own plate.

Poultry hygiene rules

Better not wash poultry before frying

But how do you get rid of Campylobacter & Co if you are not allowed to wash poultry meat? Nutrition expert Schubert advises: "Do not wash, but cook through and through - that is very important." At a core temperature of 70 degrees, the germs are killed after ten minutes and safe enjoyment is guaranteed.

  • Remove the meat from the packaging with a clean fork directly Put in the pan or oven dish
  • A Dab of the meat is not necessary for hygienic reasons. If the meat juice is still bothersome: Use kitchen paper that goes into the rubbish bin immediately after use without intermediate storage on the work surface.
  • Meat juice Immediately pour it down the drain and rinse with the hot water possible (preferably from the kettle).
  • Kitchen gloves are not necessary for hygienic reasons. It is more important to wash your hands before and between individual work steps. Why the water temperature is not the most important thing when washing your hands
  • Chopping board, knives, forks, etc. - put all kitchen utensils that have come into contact with the meat straight into the dishwasher pack; Clean work surfaces with hot water and washing-up liquid.
  • thawing best in the refrigerator (in winter also on the balcony) in a bowl on a drip rack. Be sure to cover and place the whole thing in one of the upper compartments of the refrigerator - it is warmer there than on the glass plate below, but still uncomfortable enough for the germs.
  • Neat to cook thoroughly; According to the official recommendation, 10 minutes at a constant core temperature of 70 degrees. The meat must be white throughout - including around the bones - and must not have a pink sheen or bloody spots anywhere.

Why do you have to dab meat?

Meat from animals other than poultry, such as pork and beef or game, does not have to be washed, says nutrition expert Schubert:

"The danger of Salmonella or Campylobacter is much lower with normal meat."

Nutrition expert Schubert

Wash off beef - not necessary for hygienic reasons

Because: The higher body heat in poultry provides the pathogens with an ideal breeding ground that is not the case with other animal species. It is enough to cook the meat through, or at least until it is pink inside.

Which meat do you have to wash?

If you don't want to do without washing, you can rinse the meat briefly under cold water. Then pat it dry so that it doesn't splash in the pan. "If I want to eat my steak medium or raw, I would wash it off," says the consumer advice center expert - but also emphasizes that opinions differ on this point. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves what they feel comfortable with and, if necessary, rely on their own experiences.

Do I have to wash off bones?

Washing is also superfluous with bones: they usually cook long enough in the soup anyway, so that possible germs are killed off.

Do I have to wash goulash or meat strips?

"Definitely don't wash goulash or sliced ​​meat at all," says Hubert Gerstacker, master butcher and trainer at the Munich butcher's guild. Because: "There are minerals, vitamins and protein in meat. All of these substances are water-soluble and I wash them out of my meat" - especially since you would wash out even more of these valuable substances than with a whole piece of meat because of the larger surface area. And even with packaged meat that has been in the packaging for a long time and is very juicy, dabbing with a paper towel is sufficient.

Should you wash smoked meat?

No, says master butcher Gerstacker. "When you wash it, you bring moisture to the goods - and that is what bacteria need to grow. If for any reason moisture has accumulated on the meat, dab it off with a paper towel - it is made sufficiently durable by curing salt and smoking If the white layer forms on the surface, it is usually salt, which has crystallized, or fat. Both are harmless. Lay dry and cool - on greaseproof paper in a tin in the refrigerator.

Why do you have to wash fish?

Whole fish that you buy directly from the pond owner, for example, are usually already exempted. They should be rinsed through to remove the remains from the intestinal contents. "This is not necessary with industrially processed fish," says nutrition expert Schubert - provided the fish is cooked through and not eaten raw as a carpaccio. However, most of us wash fish automatically, says Heidrun Schubert, "because you can feel this fish slime on your skin and have the smell in your nose."

Industrially processed fish really does not need to be washed

There is no reason to worry about a high bacterial load during processing, since Campylobacter and Salmonella do not play a major role in fish: The reason why fish should not be kept for so long is that the protein changes over time - not because pathogens change multiply.