Food Safety: Can I Eat Food That Has Been in Contact with Raw Chicken or Other Meats?

Food safety is a critical concern for everyone, especially when it comes to handling raw meats like chicken. One common question that arises is whether it’s safe to eat food that has come into contact with raw chicken or other meats during preparation or cooking. The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it might seem, and it depends on several factors, including the type of food, the length of contact, and the cooking process. Let’s delve deeper into this topic to provide a comprehensive answer.

Understanding Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is a significant concern when handling raw meats. It occurs when harmful bacteria from one food item, such as raw chicken, are transferred to another food item, either through direct contact or indirectly via utensils, cutting boards, or hands. Consuming food that has been cross-contaminated can lead to foodborne illnesses.

Can I Eat Food That Has Touched Raw Meat?

Generally, it’s not safe to eat food that has been in direct contact with raw meat, especially if the food is not going to be cooked afterwards. Raw meats can carry harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause serious illnesses. However, if the food that came into contact with the raw meat is cooked properly afterwards, it can be safe to eat because the high cooking temperatures can kill the bacteria.

Preventing Cross-Contamination

Preventing cross-contamination is crucial when handling raw meats. Here are some tips:

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and other foods.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw meat.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat unless it has been washed.

What If I Accidentally Eat Food That Touched Raw Meat?

If you accidentally consume food that has come into contact with raw meat, don’t panic. The risk of getting sick depends on whether the meat was contaminated and the strength of your immune system. If you start to feel unwell, seek medical attention immediately.


In conclusion, it’s best to avoid eating food that has been in contact with raw meat unless it’s cooked thoroughly afterwards. Always practice good food safety habits to prevent cross-contamination and protect your health.