The documentary "The Natural History of the Chicken" recounts how this fowl can delight us as a pet, infuriate us as a neighbor (those noisy roosters) and provide us with fuel. Each North American consumes about 80 pounds a year. But an unfortunate truth it doesn't highlight is the risk raw chicken poses to your health. A new campaign -- Don't Wash Your Chicken -- launched by Drexel University researchers points out the danger of washing raw chicken before you plop it in a pan to cook. Most people do that to remove contamination, but rinsing the bird can splash salmonella and campylobacter bacteria onto adjacent surfaces and foods. Around 200,000 folks a year come down with at-home food poisoning caused by those bacteria and have to deal with diarrhea, fever, cramps and vomiting.
The smart move is to store chicken in double plastic bags in the fridge! When it's time to cook, just unwrap, cut and cook the chicken to 165 F. All raw meat has bacteria on it, and proper cooking wipes 'em out. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the bird to check doneness. And wash any surface the chicken did touch (including the meat thermometer) with soap and water.
Other food-safety tips:
--Keep raw meats separate from produce, and keep each variety of produce separate from others. --Maintain a fridge temp of 40 F or lower.
--Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after handling food or when switching from handling one type of food to another.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of "The Dr. Oz Show" and Dr. Mike Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.