WASHINGTON, D.C. — While washing fruits and vegetables before cooking or consuming them is always a good idea, washing poultry is not recommended.

According to a USDA press release, washing poultry can leave bacteria on multiple surfaces, increasing the potential for illness.

Photo: United States Department of Agriculture

A study conducted by the USDA shows that washing poultry can leave bacteria found in the raw meat on the sink surface. The study also indicated that even after residents had cleaned their sinks, the bacteria still remained.

The USDA suggests that patting poultry with a damp towel to limit the potential spread of disease. Washing and preparing produce prior to handling raw meat is also strongly recommended to ensure a safer cooking process.

Additional guidelines include thoroughly cleaning any surface that raw poultry or meat has touched with warm, soapy water followed by a sanitizing agent and cooking meat to the appropriate internal temperature to ensure that it is safe to eat.

For more details about the study and additional guidelines, visit the USDA’s website.