Don’t Wash Your Chicken!

11 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

Don’t Wash That Chicken:  A new campaign, “Don’t Wash the Chicken,” (it’s not a joke, Google it) was launched by researchers at Drexel University to alert you to the risks of washing raw chicken before you plop it in a pan to cook. Most people do that to remove contamination. But, rinsing the bird can splash Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria or both onto adjacent surfaces, cutting boards, knives, plates in your sink, and other food. Around 200,000 folks a year come down with at-home food poisoning caused by those bacteria and have to deal with diarrhea, fever, cramps, and vomiting.  Or worse, hospitalization and risk of serious (even deadly) side-effects.

Tip for the day? Just unwrap, cut, and cook your chicken at 165 degrees in its deepest areas (you’ll need a meat thermometer—and afterwards wash that thermometer well too, but carefully so as not to splash). All raw meat has bacteria on it, and proper cooking wipes ’em out.  Wash any surface the chicken did touch with soap (it’s a great bacteria slayer), or Clorox and water. Store chicken and all meats in individual (double) plastic bags in the fridge to avoid leakage!

Other food safety tips:

Keep raw chicken meat separate from produce, and keep each variety of produce separate from others.

Maintain a fridge temp of 40°F or lower.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling food or when switching from handling one type of food to another.

Maybe next month we’ll do more on food safety, but I want to give you a follow up on the potential Alzheimer’s breakthrough we recently wrote about (many of you sent us emails asking for a follow-up). Bexarotene and Alzheimer’s Follow Up… Last year, March I think it was, I wrote:

“[Probably] no subject is more emotional to women and important to men than keeping your memory and brain functioning. So it was with interest that I got an email forwarded from my wife with the subject line “Alzheimer’s Breakthrough!” Now, I didn’t even bother to open that email for a day because I have seen that type of headline before and such a subject usually mean BS (bad science). But I WAS BLOWN AWAY.   I couldn’t believe the study – Three different mice models of Alzheimer’s disease treated to an already approved FDA drug given by gavage (that is pushed down into the stomach of the test mice like you would take a pill); and their beta amyloid plaque melted away.  More importantly, the mice had return of cognitive function, or at least as best as that can be tested in mice.  And such was based on a predicted response by the drug in turning on the Apo E gene.  As it was an approved drug, we may know very quickly if this works in humans.” 

Since March of last year, Bexarotene has undergone trials in several other laboratories to see if these results could be replicated before it went into human trials. Like many things, there were mixed results. Half the time, there was a decrease in some anatomic markers of Alzheimer’s (often not plaque size but commonly the amount of soluble amyloid in the brain).  Better than that, there appeared to be improvements in cognitive function in the one study that tested it (these studies were reviewed in Nature in May of this year). There was enough uncertainty that it was unclear whether or not human trials would proceed… But, since this is a devastating disease with no drug that gets at the basis of the ailment, the Cleveland Clinic Las Vegas Lou Ruvo Center on Brain Health is starting a study of 20 patients to see if any biomarker by radiograph (sensitive scans are now available that can measure plaque burden), and/or cognitive testing improvements can be detected.  If so, pharma firms may look for a relative of Bexarotene to bring to market because this drug, while approved for use for some lymphomas, has some pretty serious side effects.  Jeff Cummings, MD, PhD is leading the study group.  Keep reading these columns, we’ll keep you informed, and thanks for reading. Feel free to send more questions–you can always send us questions at , and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site:  and its companion the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto anytime.


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