In various cooking videos (either online or tv etc) I have seen the cook typically touch either raw chicken or raw meat or raw eggs and then without washing their hands touch other thing like salt and pepper, utensils etc. If they do something before touching anything else it is as trivial as wiping with a paper cloth.
I usually wash my hands before touching anything else but this turns out to be tedious and time consuming. So I was wondering if I am doing it wrong and it doesn't really matter or the cooks in the presentations are doing it only for time and is not safe to do or is there something safe in-between the 2 approaches i.e. constantly washing hands vs not washing hands at all


Your are following proper procedure by washing your hands after handling raw meat. In the videos you see, the ingredients are usually pre-portioned or are only going to be used once in the preparation of that specific dish. In that case, it doesn't really matter as any that is left over will be thrown away.

At home it wouldn't be as practical to follow this procedure unless you pre-portioned your ingredients. Or you could put small amounts of salt, pepper, rub, etc. in containers, use what's needed, and discard the rest. This eliminates a lot of the hand washing, but I find that it wastes a lot over time.

  • I might clarify your first paragraph - the other reason touching meat then other ingredients doesn't matter for them is that the part they do use is presumably getting cooked with the meat so it's safe too. – Cascabel Dec 10 '17 at 18:33

If you plan prep you should not need to be going back and forth.

For example prep raw chicken once. If you need to apply a rub then do it once.

I prep meat first and put it aside in a covered bowl. Then I clean and sanitize the prep area before dealing with fruits and vegetables. Often I will soak the fruits and vegetables for cleaning while I prep the meat if I have an open sink.

Restaurants will often have dedicated prep area for meat.

  • E.g. I do: 1) Take chicken out of freezer to de-frost and wash hands 2) Once chicken is de-frosted and ready for cooking I wash it and wash hands. 3) I put whatever on the chicken and place it in the stove and wash the container that I had the chicken and my hands. As you can see variations of this tend to make me wash my hands more and more. – Jim Dec 10 '17 at 17:25
  • @Jim You should not need to wash your hands after moving a bird from freezer to fridge. One wash between handle the chicken and apply rub / etc is one wash. Your question characterizes as wash every time you touch something else. – paparazzo Dec 10 '17 at 17:34
  • So after touching the frozen chicken there is no need to wash my hands? Since it is frozen it is safe? I was not sure about this. – Jim Dec 10 '17 at 17:59
  • @Jim Why do you touch frozen chicken moving it from the freezer to the fridge? Again, "If you plan prep you should not need to be going back and forth". Sorry I could not be of more help. – paparazzo Dec 10 '17 at 18:06
  • 2
    @Jim Washing chicken is unnecessary, and if anything, adds risk because the splatter can spread contamination. See for example fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/… – Cascabel Dec 10 '17 at 18:44

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