Do Restaurants Wash Their Meat?

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. A commission may be earned for us by clicking some links and buying some products.
Raw meat being washed.

This is how restaurants handle their raw meat before it is cooked in their restaurant. Restaurants often handle things a lot differently than how many individuals handle their raw meat at home. They have to follow the rules and regulations set out by their state and local government.

This is the main reason why they do things differently than the regular family at home would when handling raw meat. Many individuals will wash their meat at home before they cook for various reasons. However the USDA doesn’t advice this, and for good reasons.

So the question is, do restaurants wash their meat?

No. Restaurants do not wash their meat before they marinate it, season it, or cook it. The USDA already regulates safe ways for the meat to be cleaned before it even reaches the grocery stores or restaurants. The raw meat is already good to go before it even reaches the establishment.

Many individuals suppose that the meat is somehow chopped up immediately and then stuffed in a package. There is a lot of things that go on before the raw meat actually reaches the restaurant. The meat is checked for contamination and foodborne illnesses, and it is washed and sterilized during processing, right after the slaughtering occurs.

Why Don’t Restaurants Wash Their Meat

Besides the fact that the meat has already been washed before it arrives at the restaurant, it is mainly because of cross contamination. According to the USDA, washing the raw meat before it is cooked can lead to the spread of bacteria that causes food borne illnesses. This is because of cross contamination, which is done by other foods that are not raw meat touching the same surfaces as the raw meat before it is cleaned.

A good example would be an individual placing frozen raw meat in the kitchen sink to thaw, then taking it out and soaking a head of lettuce in the same sink. This would be cross contamination, because the raw meat was in the same sink as the head of lettuce.

Washing the sink, meat, or anything else where the raw meat made contact with water doesn’t kill/remove the bacteria on the raw meat. This means that it is altogether pointless for anyone to wash the meat in the hopes of removing bacteria. Instead, they would be helping it to spread. Raw meat should be handled separately from the other foods, including fully cooked poultry.

This is why restaurants do not wash their raw meat. It would only help salmonella and other food borne illnesses to spread. Restaurants handle their eggs the same way, as it also has been cleaned prior to reaching the store.

Why Do People Wash Meat With Water Before Cooking It?

Many individuals believe that this is the way to do it when there is excessive blood from the raw meat and blemishes. Some of them do believe that washing the raw meats before it is cooked, will remove the bacteria. This is just simply not true, and the only sure way to kill bacteria on foods is to cook the raw meat until it’s internal temperatures are above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

My mom for instance, would not only soak the frozen meat in the sink with warm water to thaw, but would also wash it to remove weird looking parts, fats, and other blemishes. The same sink was not bleached afterwards, it was only rinsed with water until all visible raw meat pieces were gone. The raw meat was also seasoned directly in the sink before cooking it. This is all wrong, and gives the chance for bacteria to spread through cross contamination.

This same thing was passed on to me, and as I grew older, I did the same thing as my mom. It just looked like the right thing to do. I had no idea at the time that the meat had already been cleaned before I purchased it. I knew it had been cleaned to some extent, but not washed.

Instead of washing the blemishes or blood off of the raw meat, the USDA recommends using a cutting board to cut off the blemishes instead. According to the USDA, the red liquid isn’t mostly blood. Most of the blood is already removed before the meat before it is packaged.

How Do Restaurants Handle Blemishes On Raw Meat?

Any extra pieces on the raw meat that are found are usually still cooked altogether with the rest of the meat when they are found. After the meat is cooked, it may be thrown out accordingly if it looks too weird. The main concern of restaurants is food safety over the aesthetics of a piece of meat (that is if they actually care about food safety).

Restaurants will buy their raw poultry from another manufacturer if it contains any extras that they don’t see fit for consumption rather than dealing with cutting them off. They may decide to cut pieces off, but they never wash their meat. It will be fine after it is cooked fully to temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most of the time the blemishes are never really a problem once the meat has been cooked.

Is It OK To Wash Meat With Hot Water?

Washing raw meat with hot water creates an ideal atmosphere for bacteria that causes food borne illnesses to rapidly grow. Restaurants do not soak their meat in hot water, or rinse it in it cold or hot water in an attempt to thaw it faster. Instead, they thaw their meat out by taking it from the freezer and transferring it over to the cooler. The cooler slowly thaws the raw meat out, usually overnight.

There is no reason to run hot water on top of or rinse raw meat with it. Instead, thaw the meat out in the refrigerator. Thawing it out on the counter at room temperature gives the meat a chance to grow bacteria once it is thawed at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leave a Reply