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Bacteria on chicken and spices

(article, Culinate staff)

Late last month, food blogger Michael Ruhlman reminded readers that washing raw chicken is actually less hygienic than leaving it alone. Ruhlman's amusing riff drew on TV celebrity chef Alton Brown's whimsical Post-It art and the original news item, from the National Public Radio food blog The Salt, that raised the whole wet-chicken ruckus in the first place. As Ruhlman wrapped it up:

bq. Do I wash my chicken before roasting? Usually, unless I’m in a rush. If there are fragments and stuff and viscera that I prefer not to put in my roasting pan, of course I rinse it off. I dry it. I truss it. I salt it. Then I put it in a really hot oven. . . . I don’t put on an orange suit and cover the kitchen in antibacterial foam. 

NPR and the New York Times also recently triggered food-safety worries with the news that dry spices can harbor salmonella. The Times noted that some farms in India, where many of the world's spices are grown, dried, and exported from, are trying to change their procedures. 

But NPR suggested that the best thing to do was just to make sure that dried spices were put into dishes that were then cooked thoroughly. That may be fine for oregano and cumin, but less so for sesame seeds and black pepper (the most commonly contaminated spice, in fact), which are often added raw just before serving.