Don’t Wash Your Chicken, quotes recent headlines from around the nation. These headlines cite the many health risks associated with spreading bacteria all over the kitchen as a result of washing your chicken at home in the kitchen sink.
For years, famous cooks from Julia Child to Martha Stewart have recommended washing your poultry, prior to cooking it, and cookbooks from around the world have repeated this advice.
Recent research from Drexler University in Pennsylvania, coupled with research from New Mexico State University, has suggested that chicken washing can actually result in germs being spread all over the kitchen. Germs are often spread from sink, to counter top, to cheese, to produce and then on to the washer’s t-shirt or clothing spreading deadly germs, and greatly increasing the risk of poultry born illness and disease for the family in the home. A new video was even made and a campaign was begun on the popular National Public Radio show, Salt, teaching the evils of chicken washing.
As honest as these researchers are, and as well-intentioned as the folks at National Public Radio are, they are only telling part of the truth. Only part of the truth you ask?
What’s the rest of the story?
The truth is, most chicken, fish, pork, and beef that is bought from the local store is often covered in bacteria, with chicken being the worst offender. That’s right folks, fowl is often, well, foul! Never fear, there is light at the end of the tunnel though. There is a way to safely wash your poultry and to sanitize it from the bacteria, while, increasing freshness and extending shelf life dramatically.
What’s more, it is inexpensive to do, and by increasing shelf life, it can end up saving the average family a ton of cash over the course of a year from decreased spoilage. What is this new technology? It is actually a very old technology discovered in 1840 and put into widespread use in Europe around 1900. The technology is ozonating water and using it to wash the meat. Using an ozone generator to ozonate water in your kitchen sink you can safely treat chicken, pork, beef, fish or vegetables at home. Using an ozone generator or an ozone machine you can safely kill e coli, kill salmonella, kill campylobacter and kill other common germs safely and effectively.
Ozone is effective in killing microorganisms because it oxidizes their cell membranes. In fact, ozone is more effective at killing a wider variety of germs and pathogens than chlorine. Unlike many other sanitizing agents, ozone contributes no negative environmental impact, because it quickly and easily degrades into simple pure oxygen.
Ozone For Water: Although its use is relatively recent in the United States, ozone and its oxidizing properties were first discovered as early as 1840. By the early 1900’s, France was using ozone to disinfect drinking water, and soon spread to the rest of Europe. Ozone continues to be used in water treatment in both small and large applications. It eliminates germs, heavy metals, and even eliminates fluoride. Because using ozone increases the oxygen levels, many people drink ozonated water for health and wellness.
Ozone for meat: In Europe, ozonation in food processing began taking place shortly after it was first used for water treatment, at the turn of the last century. Only with recent regulatory rulings, has the stage been set for ozonation to make inroads into the U.S. food industry, where adoption of the technology has been slower. In 1996, the USDA approved the use of ozonated water for washing poultry carcasses, in 1997,the United States affirmed ozone as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Fruits and vegetables: Ozone bubbled through water disperses the ozone molecules throughout. This ozonated water can then be used for washing berries, fruits, and vegetables. Controlled studies prove ozonated water actually provides greater than 90% reduction of total bacterial counts for fruits and vegetables. Ozonating water kills germs, kills fungi, and kills mold as well as, subsequently, reducing fungal decay, making meats, fruits, and vegetables safer to eat and makes them last longer.
Ozone offers the family another tool in the ongoing food-safety quest. At the same time, it does so in a more environmentally friendly way than many other sanitizing agents. With the spread of germs and disease on the rise, more families should give ozonation a try.
Not only can you safely wash: chicken, meats, fruits, and vegetables, you can oxygenate the water you drink too. Beware of poor quality cheap chinese-made machines, they often use a diaphragm actuated pump which will quickly wear out after a short time. Ozone generators for fruits, veggies, meat and olive oil are available from companies that make them here in the USA, make sure the one you use employs a heavy-duty piston pump not a cheap diaphragm pump.