Lots of people think that rinsing or soaking meat and poultry improves safety. However, when you cook whole pieces of meat, pork, or poultry, a cooking temperature above160°F on the surface of the product will destroy any disease causing bacteria. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline does not recommend washing or rinsing raw beef, pork, lamb, poultry, or veal before cooking. In fact, unless you do careful job of cleaning and sanitizing the sink or the container you used to rinse or soak the meat, you run the risk of moving disease causing bacteria from the meat or poultry to other places in your kitchen like food preparation surfaces and utensils. And, if you fail to wash your hands, it is easy to spread bacteria to other foods during preparation. This is called cross contamination. Cross contamination is a signiﬁcant cause of foodborne illness.
Some consumers also believe that soaking will decrease the sodium content of ham, bacon, or salt pork, but very little is removed during washing, rinsing, or soaking meat or pork products.
Does washing eggs improve their safety?
Eggs are frequently associated with a common type of disease causing bacteria called salmonella. Surface contamination of eggs is an important health and safety concern to producers. If you purchase commercially produced eggs, they have been washed. Federal regulations clearly deﬁne washing procedures as well as the types of chemicals that can be used during the commercial processing of eggs. Commercial egg washing is very effective in the removal of bacteria. But, washing also removes the protective, natural coating called “bloom” on the eggs.