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Should You Wash Meat Before Cooking?

Ask the Chef

Question:

I notice that the chefs never wash the meat from the store. They just open the package and start cutting and cooking it. Why don’t they wash it?

—Noee from Thailand

Answer:

It’s actually fine from a safety standard to NOT wash the meat. In fact, washing it can spread unnecessary risk around in the form of cross-contamination with your kitchen accessories. The Federal Safety Inspection Service says, ‘There is no need to wash or rinse meat or poultry,’ and offers a downloadable brochure with more information, available at by clicking here. One thing to note, however, is if meat has been in cryovack and has ‘wet aged,’ you will want to air it out – not wash it, but open it and air it for 30 minutes prior to cooking. You may notice an unpleasant smell, but it is just the natural gases from the aging process. If you cook the meat without airing it, the smell can be retained in the finished product.

'Cryovacking’' is an industry term for a cooking technique in which food is placed in a plastic bag, vacuum-packed, and then cooked slowly in warm water. The pressure of the packing process is used to infuse flavors into ingredients.

For more detail about whether to wash or not wash your meat, we suggest this site as well:

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