Foods You Should Never Wash Before Cooking

Many of us are taught that sudsing up is a good thing. We've been washing our hands since we were children. The more soap and the more thorough the scrub, the better! Often, it is important to wash off germs, but before you get too scrub-happy, there are a few foods that should avoid the kitchen sink during the prep phase.

Before we get into what not to wash, let's discuss a few foods that should be washed even though many people likely assume it isn't necessary. Eat This, Not That states that even though we toss the peels, give your avocados and oranges a good rinse before eating. And pre-packaged foods like canned beans, boxed quinoa, and bagged rice should be washed before cooking to ensure the best preparation.

Washing foods before cooking is a great hygienic practice. That being said, there are a few foods that shouldn't be subjected to rinsing.

Raw meats and eggs don't need a wash

First up is raw chicken. Eric Sieden, director of nutrition and food services for Glen Cove, Plainview, and Syosset Hospitals in New York, tells Reader's Digest that "By washing raw chicken in the sink, you are likely to spread the bacteria all over your kitchen, including clean surfaces like countertops, through splashing and dripping." And just like raw chicken, you should keep the raw red meat away from the sink. "The added moisture during washing will create steam that will also affect taste," Sieden warns. 

Chicken and red meat aren't the only foods that shouldn't get a rinse. Conor O'Flynn, operations manager of O'Flynn Medical, explains to Best Life that washing eggs "may actively aid the transfer of harmful bacteria like salmonella from the outside of the egg to the inside of the egg." 

So there you have it. Fruit, veggies, and prepackaged food can stand for a good scrub before eating. But in order to keep harmful bacteria from spreading onto your countertops, and into your food, keep your raw chicken, red meat, and eggs away from your faucet.