For one reason or another, many people believe it’s important to wash their meat and poultry before cooking it. Referring to this belief as an old wives’ tale, the newest video in the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Meat MythCrusher series explains why this reasoning isn’t exactly a good food safety practice.

“From a food safety standpoint it’s a bad idea because we can potentially spread the bacteria that are on the meat to all other areas of our kitchen,” says Jonathan Campbell, meat extension specialist at Penn State University. “That makes the food safety hazard even worse.”

During the video, Campbell adds that washing meat also is not effective at removing all of the potential bacteria, which is best accomplished by cooking the meat to the proper internal temperature as confirmed with a meat thermometer. The video also discusses the best strategies for safely removing meat from packaging to avoid any cross contamination and the proper temperatures for various cuts of meat and poultry.

The newest Meat MythCrusher video is the 47th in the six-year-old series produced by NAMI and American Meat Science Association featuring interviews with meat scientists who bust some of the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production and processing.