Defrosting chicken on counter can poison you: 3 safe methods - Breaking News

Defrosting chicken on counter can poison you: 3 safe methods

Forgetting to leave the chicken out may actually save your life.

Gavin Van De Walle, a registered dietitian and nutritionist who runs the FoodSafePal TikTok account, posted a video revealing that defrosting chicken on the kitchen counter can actually lead to bacteria exposure and make you sick.

In the 27-second clip with 4.2 million views, he says if someone leaves poultry to thaw on the counter, it can reach a “temperature danger zone” of 40 degrees to 140 degrees “where bacteria can grow and multiply rapidly.”

Once meat is exposed to a threatening zone, foodborne illness, or food poisoning, can happen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns on their website. The CDC estimates that about 1 million people get sick from eating contaminated poultry every year.

Van De Walle instead shared three alternatives to limit the potential exposure to bacteria.

“To thaw chicken safely, do so in the microwave,” he shares, as he places the package of chicken inside the microwave and presses the defrost button.

Gavin Van De Walle posted a video revealing that defrosting chicken on the kitchen counter can lead to bacteria exposure.

The other options were to run the chicken under cold water or let meat begin to defrost on the bottom shelf in the fridge.

“Also, never rinse your chicken with the hopes of removing bacteria. The splashing water actually spreads bacteria around,” added Van De Walle — who serves as the program administrator for FoodSafePal, a company focusing on food safety training for food handlers.

The Post reached out to Van De Walle for comment.

Many viewers were perplexed by the nutritionist’s suggested methods.

“Don’t you kill the bacteria once you cook it, though?” a curious watcher asked.

“What about sitting cold water? Like in a bowl?” another questioned.

However, some people have no plans to change the defrosting method they’ve been using for years.

“57 years later, I haven’t died yet,” claimed one person. “Thanks….40 years later…….never sick.”

“I just ate chicken I thawed on the BENCH and have been for years,” commented one woman.

“I thought throwin’ it on the counter is the only way to defrost it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” quipped another.

The three options are the only methods Van De Walle would recommend when defrosting meat.

raw chicken
Van De Walle also mentioned that rinsing off chicken is not necessary because it can spread bacteria around the kitchen via the splashing water.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Although many people disagreed with Van De Walle’s suggestions, according to, he’s correct.

“Don’t put frozen chicken on the counter or in the sink to thaw. While the center of the chicken is ice cold, the outer portions can become too warm to stop bacterial growth,” the culinary site reads.

Allrecipes supports the nutritionist’s advice to defrost poultry in the fridge before using it.

“Thaw the chicken in your fridge up to two days ahead of when you plan to cook with it,” the site adds. “That will give the chicken’s thickest parts plenty of time to de-ice while keeping the outside portions chilled — and more importantly, safe.”

fried chicken
Once meat is exposed to a threatening zone, a consumer can experience foodborne illness.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Several other tips the culinary website recommends when handling chicken are to place poultry on a plate on the bottom shelf of the fridge, not to leave the meat out longer than 15 minutes and avoid washing the poultry before cooking it.

In another clip, Van De Walle explains the importance of taking the chicken directly from the packaging to the pan.

“You may think washing your chicken before cooking it can make it safer, but doing so can actually spread disease,” he reveals. “Organisms called pathogens [can spread] around your sink and nearby surfaces from the splashing.”