Anyone who’s spent time in the kitchen has likely developed a few tricks to make the cooking process simpler (and the food tastier). Some insist on a specific slicing technique while others keep a garbage bowl for easy scraps disposal. But in the culinary world, not all popular habits are helpful. In fact, some can be downright dangerous!

In 2012, studies conducted by a professor at Drexel University showed that a lot of people were committing a certain culinary sin almost every time they made dinner. Worse yet, this bad kitchen habit had the potential to do some serious harm not just to the meal itself, but to the people cooking it, too…

In 2012, Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences Dr. Jennifer Quinlan and her colleagues at Drexel University received grant money from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant funded research into food safety risks.

Drexel University

With this grant, Dr. Quinlan were asked to determine if there were any “unique food safety risks for minority populations.” So she and her team of researchers devised focus groups and surveys to find some answers.

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After studying focus groups comprised of three different minority populations, Dr. Quinlan identified “a couple of different food safety risks.” But one risk stood was common across all three populations…

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Through additional studies, Dr. Quinlan found that the issue in question wasn’t just a common occurrence in minority households. Nearly 90 percent of the population indulged this risky culinary habit! So, what was it?

Drexel University

The research team noticed “that our minority populations reported washing their poultry, sometimes with water, sometimes with warm water,” Dr. Quinlan said. And washing chicken, she said, wasn’t recommended by the USDA. But why?

Drexel University

Anyone with a little bit of kitchen experience knows about the harmful and potentially deadly bacteria that live in and on raw chicken. Two of the more common bacterium, salmonella and campylobacter, have a laundry list of nasty side effects…

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Ingest the bacteria on a raw chicken, and you’re looking at a lovely night of diarrhea, stomachaches, headaches, and more. So why the heck wouldn’t you wash your chicken?

Dr. Quinlan had the answer: “Washing your raw poultry increases you chances of spreading bacteria around your kitchen,” she said. “It does not get rid of bacteria; it does not get kill the bacteria.” And that wasn’t all…

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Dr. Quinlan added, “There is a chance it’s going to spray that bacteria. It’s called aerosolization“; this meant the bacteria you were trying to wash away “might be in your sink, or on you, or on your counter.”

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In other words, when water hits the raw poultry, it bounces or runs off the bird and does the very thing you’d been trying to avoid in the first place! The deflected water carries the germs all over the sink surface—and beyond.

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So how could Dr. Quinlan and her team of experts inform populations of the health risks involved in washing poultry? And could they spread the word on how to kill those terrible bacterium? Thankfully, there is an effective solution!

 “We approached our colleagues at New Mexico State University who had the expertise in the development of education material,” Dr. Quinlan said. Professors there had a few recommendations on spreading the word to minority groups.

The experts at New Mexico State suggested Dr. Quinlan develop photo novellas to reach a broader range of people and create shareable videos for online so the information could spread via social media—not just by word of mouth. So Dr. Quinlan made both…

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One photo novella illustrated a husband ready to wash a chicken before putting it into a stir fry, while the wife politely informed him of the harm this would actually cause. The novellas were fun, if not a bit cheesy. And the videos?

A popular video distributed by Dr. Quinlan as part of her “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign featured a young girl getting ready to cook a lemon-baked chicken for her family. She prepared to wash her poultry. And then…

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The mom heroically turned off the faucet before her daughter could rinse it. The daughter protested—she claimed she learned all about bacteria in science class—before the mom told her the truth about how to properly kill those bacterium.

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The method for killing bacteria is simple and easy, if not a little bit anti-climactic. All you need to do—as mentioned by the “heroes” of the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign—is one simple thing…

Just cook the bird—and that’s it! “What’s really going to kill that bacteria that we know is on the chicken is proper cooking,” Dr. Quinlan said, “and that’s really all that’s going to completely get rid of that bacteria.” Easy!

Ultimately, Dr. Quinlan knew that her message would take a long time to catch on throughout different communities. She hoped in about 10 to 15 years, though, the knowledge to not wash raw chicken would be about as common as using a kitchen thermometer.

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Remember: while washing your chicken just feels like a smart idea, you should listen to the experts. Don’t wash your raw chicken! And since chicken came first, now it’s only fair that we talk about eggs…

An eggshell can have as many as 17,000 pores all over its surface, which allow tiny amounts of air to pass through the shell. To test if an egg is safe to consume, drop it in a bowl of water. If the egg sinks, its fresh. If the egg floats, it signals that it has amassed enough air to form an air pocket within the shell.

Despite popular belief, the thickness of an eggshell has nothing to do with the egg’s color or the breed of hen. The thickness of shell is contingent on the age of the laying hen. Younger hens lay thicker-shelled eggs, while older hens deliver thinner shells.

 “Cage-free” is a big fat misnomer! The only requirement to slap a “cage-free” label on a carton is that each bird has 120-square inches of space to subsist. Many of these hens spend their lives very much in a cage, and often never leave the confines of their indoor aviaries.

On a lighter note, did you know that iconic white chef hat is actually an ode to the egg? Marie-Antoine Carême, the pioneering French chef of grande cuisine inspired the look when he wore a white chefs hat that stood 18 inches tall and was adorned with 100 pleats for the 100 different ways you can cook an egg.

This stringy, white substance attached to the yolk of most eggs is called the chalaza, and it is actually a sign that your egg is fresh and safe to eat. The chalaza acts as an anchor to keep the yolk centered in the middle of the egg, rather than settling on one side. Thanks, chalaza!

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Ever wonder where eggshells get their color? It actually is determined by the breed of the hen. You can tell what color egg a hen will lay by the color of her earlobes — yes, earlobes! Chickens with white earlobes will lay white eggs, while those with red earlobes are dropping the brown eggs.

Clucking about eggshell color, what’s up with blue eggs?! Turns out there aren’t Avatar hens, but over 500 years ago, there was an outbreak of a strange virus affecting many South American hens. This resulted in a genetic mutation that caused the birds to accumulate a pigment known as biliverdin, leading the hens to produce blue and green eggs.

How many eggs can a lay hen lay, if a lay hen could lay… lay? Well, according to a recent survey there are approximately 280 million laying hens in the United States, each throwing down about 250-300 eggs per calendar year. That is 84 billion eggs in the U.S. alone!

Coming in at number one for egg production is China. Chinese hens deliver 160 billion eggs per year! But don’t get too cocky China, you may have the most eggs in your baskets, but France still has the most pleats in their hats, and we all know what that means (well, now we do).

While we’re on international affairs, you may be wondering why Americans refrigerate eggs and Europeans don’t. This has to do with the differences in the production process regulated by the FDA and the EMA to protect against salmonella.

In the States, eggs are thoroughly washed and sanitized before being shipped to market. This process removes the natural protective cuticle around the shell, making the egg vulnerable to bacteria. In Europe, hens are vaccinated against Salmonella, thus the eggs do not go through the same cleansing process, and their protective cuticle remains intact.

Yet another misleading marketing maneuver is the “hormone-free” labels on certain cartons of eggs. Unless you are shopping for seriously expired eggs, ALL EGGS ARE HORMONE-FREE! The FDA banned the use of hormones in all poultry back in the 1950s. That means chicken meat and eggs are harmoniously hormone-less.

All eggs are created equal. Maybe, not entirely true. On the other hand, we do know for sure that despite their color at maturity, all eggs start out as white eggs.

On the egg equality note, are we paying a premium price for brown eggs over white eggs because they are a premium egg? No, in fact, nutritionally speaking, white and brown eggs are the same. The reason for the higher price is because brown egg laying hens are typically a larger breed of bird and require more feed.

The age-old debate, white vs yolk! When it comes to protein both opponents are holding down 3 grams. Calorically, whites are weighing in at 15 while the yolks are coming in at an impressive 60! Don’t let the calories turn you off, though: yolks contain a ton of micronutrients. So just relax and take a yolk why don’t ya.

If you’re still cracking up from that last joke and dropped an egg, just grab the salt! An old trick for cleaning up raw egg is to sprinkle it with salt, leave it to absorb for about ten minutes, and then simply wipe it up. Ten out of ten nutritionists recommend one should not consume the egg at this point.

Never seen a B grade egg? That’s probably because they aren’t sold in the supermarket. B grade eggs are the poorest quality of egg, often with thin whites, flat yolks, and occasionally, blood spots. These eggs are sent to commercial production plants where they are made into liquid and powdered egg products.

We may never know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but you can rest assured the eggs you buy in the store, won’t be hatching into baby chicks. A hen must mate with a rooster for the egg to be fertilized. The eggs you buy are laid by un-mated ladies.

Who is the mother hen of mother hens? Lady Harriet, folks, pushed out an egg in 2010 measuring 9.1 inches in diameter! You know what else is 9-something inches in diameter? A BASKETBALL! You can retire now, Harriet. You’ve won.

Sunshine isn’t the only way to soak up vitamin D. You can turn to some sunny side ups for that essential vitamin, too. Eggs are one of the few food sources that contain vitamin D along with milk, and certain types of fish. Who knew how much an egg could brighten your day?

If you’re trying to get totally yolked, eating raw eggs won’t do you any good. Contrary to the mega muscle media, consuming raw eggs is providing you with less digestible protein than a cooked egg. A raw egg’s protein is only 51 percent digestible, where a cooked egg has 91 percent digestible protein.

Though some of these egg facts are quite strange, there’s nothing more strange than the story of this large wrinkly egg a woman recently found after shopping at her local grocery store. She just had to see what was inside…

While other animals lay eggs that are edible for human consumption, the most popular and recognizable kind of eggs for humans to use as food are undoubtedly those of chickens.

With that in mind, there’s a certain level of predictability for many people that comes from buying, cooking, and eating chicken eggs…

So when you unknowingly buy eggs produced from a rare Orpington chicken, weird and unexpected things can happen!

These unique chickens are named after the town of Orpington, Kent, in south-east England, and are usually much larger than the average chicken.

Their size and gentle contours of color give it an attractive appearance, which makes them more of a show bird rather than a utility breed…

However, with all the eggs produced in the United States (roughly 5.6 million of them in a year), it’s hard to imagine that absolutely no surprises ever slip through the cracks!

This woman couldn’t believe her eyes when she found an egg from a seemingly healthy Orpington chicken. The egg appeared to be abnormally large, and it featured vein-like wrinkles all around it. What could have caused this?

For reference, the woman held up a regular-sized egg to compare to the odd, veiny one. It’s no wonder that she wanted to show share her unbelievable discovery to the world!

The woman wasted no time in getting to the bottom of exactly what was going on. She walked over to her counter where a plate was prepared for the moment of truth…

What would happen when she cracked open the giant egg? Would it be gross? Maybe she would find a baby chicken… or worse?

As soon as the hidden object inside the massive egg started to be revealed, the woman couldn’t help but scream. It’s not that it was scary, necessarily, or even disgusting, but it certainly was surprising…

There it was: another egg buried inside of it! Does this mean that the mother bird had… twins? Intrigued, the woman cracked open the second egg to be sure.

Low and behold, the second yoke came out just like the first. Talk about egg-ception! Who knew that birds could lay one large egg with two inside? 

Apparently, this has actually happened quite a few times in the past to other people as well. Just check out this guy who found out after he boiled his eggs.

Or this guy who found out during

Who could have ever guessed that an egg from a seemingly normal chicken could lay twins, and that it would look like that? At least now everyone can make a delicious, healthy omelet!