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Handling chicken properly cuts risk of salmonella

By Lauren Maxwell 10:34 PM October 15, 2013

Health officials say the wisest move is to consider all raw poultry contaminated

ANCHORAGE – Fourteen Alaskans are among those who have gotten sick from a salmonella outbreak that’s been sweeping the country for over a year. The source has been traced to raw poultry processed at several Foster Farms brand facilities in California.

Health officials say the wisest move is to consider all raw poultry contaminated. That’s not a problem, they say, provided you know how to handle and cook it properly.

Raw poultry needs to be kept on a separate surface and definitely handled with care. Germs spread easily after touching raw poultry so frequent hand washing is a must. Drying with a paper towel is also important, so that any germs can literally be thrown away.

But that same advice doesn’t apply to the bird itself. Poultry can be patted dry with a paper towel but it should never be rinsed in the sink because it’s too easy for germs to spread in the spray of water.

The recommendation is not to rinse poultry at all.

The most important step is to make sure that poultry is cooked thoroughly. It needs to have an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. The only way to tell that is with a meat thermometer.

Health officials advise using a thermometer on chicken breasts as well as whole chickens to cut the risk of getting sick.

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