Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Whenever I handle raw poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.) my nails, cuticles, and the skin under and around my nails turns black. This happens even after I thoroughly wash my hands, and when working with thoroughly cleaned utensils.

This has been happening to me for over ten years. So far, I've not been able to get an answer as to why, or how to prevent it.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Jolenealaska, Mien, SAJ14SAJ, sourd'oh, KatieK Nov 18 '13 at 23:53

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on nutrition or requests for medical advice are off-topic here; you should contact a qualified medical professional instead." – Jolenealaska, Mien, SAJ14SAJ, SourDoh, KatieK
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

FYI, I've copy-edited your question (this is encouraged on the site, we like all our questions and answers to be as readable as possible). If you don't approve of my copy editing, feel free to edit further, or revert my changes entirely. You can do so by clicking the "edit" button located under the tags. – derobert Feb 6 '12 at 19:04
That sounds very odd. Google turns up nothing. I can only think that the bacteria from the meat is reacting with something on your hands. Does it happen with other meats, say beef or pork? – ElendilTheTall Feb 7 '12 at 13:00
I'm curious, if you do a 30-30-30 wash before and after handling the meat, does the problem go away? (30 second rinse, 30 second scrub with plenty of soap, 30 second rinse). That is a wash longer than the normal one you'd do for food service, but should get just about everything off without being ridiculously harsh. Also, you may want to try a different soap—it could be something reacting with the soap. – derobert Feb 7 '12 at 20:14
I suspect this is a fake question. No reference to the condition anywhere, no photos, no other participation on SA. They are just seeding an account for spam reasons latter – TFD Feb 15 '12 at 2:39
@pam - any update here? can we get a photo? – samthebrand May 7 '12 at 21:09

As a student of medicine I've never heard of any condition similar to the one you describe, but then there are still a lot of diseases, conditions and genetic prepositions unknown to man (and to medicine students). First I thought, it might be an allergic reaction to poultry proteins, but our skin normally doesn't have many immune cells on the outside (but can still result in a rash or excema) and you would probably have a really strong alergic reaction when eating poultry (that does not seem to be the case). What I would like to know is how long does your skin keep being black? Does your hands' colour change slowly or in a few seconds to a black? Do you have any other symptoms during contact to poultry or in general?

Anyhow there are few possibilities. Either something's really wrong with the meat you're buying (and I doubt that) or something's not alright with your skin. Maybe you have some kind of weird bacteria growing on your skin. There a lots of different bacteria physiologically growing on everyones skin ... stil this not seem normal to me. You should consider seeking professional help and talk to a general practitioner. Meanwhile I suggest using latex or nitril glove (you should be able to buy them in a drug store). This should prevent your hands from turning black and they still allow you to handle the meat precisely.

share|improve this answer

Wearing gloves should solve the problem.

share|improve this answer
It probably would work, but it would first sacrifice precision, and second, I find the question interesting even if there is a workaround for it. – rumtscho Feb 6 '12 at 18:49
Sure gloves are an option... But I still need to find out hat the underlying issue is. Today I handled raw ground turkey, after cleaning up and washing, about 45 minutes later my hands were disgusting! My hands looked like I was digging in the dirt. Any more help is appreciated. – Pam Feb 7 '12 at 0:32

I have no idea what's causing this, but the only solution I can think of is to rinse your hands with a bleach solution afterwards. Sounds weird, but it'll kill pretty much anything.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.