WSU Extension Q&A: Don't bother washing raw poultry

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSIONOctober 17, 2013 

Q. Does washing raw poultry help reduce the amount of bacteria present on the meat?

A. Rinsing poultry does not make it safer, and actually can spread bacteria around your kitchen. When washed, bacteria from poultry can travel up to three feet, spreading to everything else that's nearby -- including the sink and counter surfaces, which increases your risk of foodborne illness.

Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can only be killed by cooking the meat to a safe internal temperature, which for poultry is 165 degrees, as measured with a food thermometer.

Q. What is a fruit cocktail tree?

A. These are trees with multiple fruit varieties grafted onto one rootstock. They are appealing because you can get different fruit growing in the same area. The problem is that in the winter, some people forget what branches are different and then accidentally prune off a variety. Also, each fruit will require slightly different pest management and horticultural needs.

Q. Why is it important to allow time for a newly seeded alfalfa crown to development prior to cold weather?

A. Late seeding of alfalfa may not allow enough time for the alfalfa plant to form a crown, which is essential for the plant to survive the winter. Even brief exposure of temperatures below 27 degrees will kill alfalfa plants that do not have a developed crown. Alfalfa plants survive cold temperatures by pulling the lower-most buds below ground to form a crown; this is called contractile growth. Contractile growth may start as soon as one week after emergence and last up to 16 weeks. A minimum of six weeks of growth after emergence is recommended for winter survival, but the highest yielding alfalfa is planted near Aug. 1.

Q. My child is in a wheelchair. Do you see any difficulty having him participate in a 4-H group?

A. 4-H members with disabilities can develop a greater sense of self-confidence and self-reliance as they interact with other youth and participate in traditional 4-H activities. Other members of the club benefit by regular interaction, bringing about less prejudice and the discovery of gifts each individual possesses.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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