Should You Wash Chicken? Peloton Instructor Cody Rigsby Sparks Fiery Debate

Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby has sparked a debate on social media over whether people should wash raw chicken before preparing it, after posting a video on Instagram this week.

The Dancing With the Stars alum, 35, shared a clip that showed him standing at his kitchen sink as he held a slab of raw kitchen under a running faucet.

"First of all, some of you might be asking do I wash my chicken. And the answer is, sometimes," the celebrity fitness guru said while preparing his meal.

After slapping a trio of cutlets onto a cutting board, Rigsby proceeded to give his social media followers some tongue-in-cheek romantic advice while patting the chicken dry, applying light seasoning and breadcrumbs, and then placing it into his air dryer.

The video ended with Rigsby eating the chicken.

Cody Rigsby sparks chicken washing debate
Cody Rigsby is pictured on September 20, 2022 in New York City. The inset image shows a woman washing a raw chicken in a kitchen sink. Rigsby sparked a debate on Instagram this week, after posting a video of himself washing raw chicken before preparing to cook it. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images;/Evgen Prozhyrko/iStock/Getty Images Plus

While The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore quipped in the comments section that she "didn't see any seasoning," a debate raged elsewhere under the post about how—and whether at all—chicken should be washed.

Smash star Jaime Cepero was among those who weighed in on the subject, writing: "Cody washing chicken is not just running water over it."

The actor's comment sparked a flood of confused questions, with some asking whether he expected the poultry to have been washed with soap.

"Absolutely not," an Instagram user clarified, before explaining the method. Clean with lemon or key limes and water." Cepero agreed with the comment.

However, the discussion did not end there, with a number of Instagram users insisting that the chicken should not be washed at all before preparation.

"Don't actually need to wash chicken," one wrote. "They [say] that it's more dangerous to cause contamination by splashing onto surfaces. Any salmonella will die when properly cooked so no need to rinse."

Siding with the dedicated chicken washers, one Instagram user countered: "I bleach my kitchen sink with hot water & disinfect the counters after cooking. I don't know who was the last person who touched my chicken. So I wash it regardless. Not sure if the butcher scratched his butt before cutting it. There's food handling practices I do at home to prevent to myself from getting food poisoning."

Rigsby commented on the debate himself, after one fan wrote: "Cody, thank you for washing your chicken. You know WE (you know who we are) was watching."

"And look in the comments of who is telling me not to," Rigsby responded.

Should You Wash Chicken?

For the most part, it appears that official guidelines generally discourage washing chicken before cooking it.

In its food safety guidelines for homes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explicitly states that people should not wash "meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. If water splashes from the sink in the process of washing, it can spread bacteria."

Instead, the FDA states that food needs to "get hot and stay hot" at a sustained temperature as the heat will kill the germs. In the case of chicken, this temperature should be 165 °F, with food thermometers recommended to check this.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also states that raw chicken "is ready to cook. It doesn't need to be washed first."

Citing a study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the CDC shared on its website that "1 in 7 people who cleaned their sink after washing chicken still had germs in the sink."

However, the CDC does give advice on how to safely wash chicken should there be insistence on doing so.

The public health agency advises running the water "gently over the chicken to reduce splashing. Then immediately clean the sink and area around the sink with hot soapy water and sanitize them thoroughly."

It is also advised that raw chicken—whether washed or not—should be prepared on a separate cutting board. No cooked food or fresh produce should be placed on a plate, cutting board or other surface that raw chicken had previous been placed on.

"Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item," said the CDC, while advising that hands should be washed for 20 seconds after handling raw chicken.