I was processing some chickens the other day, a couple plucked and one skinned. Now, I'm far from a germophobe but I'm pretty safety conscious about food processing. I started to think about the fact that skinning a chicken was really exposing the meat to grossly contaminated, filthy feathers, there is really no possible way to get around this,especially with a Cornish X, but really any chicken, since feathers are inherently dirty. If you are going to skn a bird, you almost can't avoid getting stuff on the surface of the meat. Really, if you think about it, even the skin of the bird, after we pluck it has to be horribly contaminated with poo and bacteria and all we're doing by rinsing and chilling is hoping to avoid massive blooms of bad stuff. But when you're flinging around a dirty skin full of poop, peeling it off the body and trying to keep as much of it from touching the meat as possible, is that worse than plucking? Is it better or worse not to be dropped in a dirty tank of scalding water? I don't know. For some reason, I just started thinking about this, maybe I was just seeing and smelling too many poopy Cornish X. There is no possible way to completely avoid bacterial contamination but I think I may pluck from now on, even if I'm not planning on using the chicken for roasting, unless it's destined for the pressure canner where the high temperatures will kill anything and everything. I don't know, I guess if it will be dog food meat it's probably still fine to skin since the dogs seem to be able to tolerate a pretty good load of bacteria compared to people. Maybe it's just that I had a minor bout of food poisoning from a restaurant chicken dish recently and my stomach has been off for the past week because of it. Has anybody else thought about this before? When skinning, how do you keep the meat clean and free from contamination? Also, what steps do you take, overall to assure safe, clean meat? I rinse frequently, clean my work surfaces, knives and hands. Including washing my hands after handling/killing the chickens and before completing the cleaning process. I'm sure some people go through the whole process from catching the chicken through cleaning the carcass, in fact, I've never seen a video where somebody washed their hands after handling the live bird and then handled the meat. Why is that? I mean, if you pet your dogs or go out to the barn you wash your hands before cooking dinner, don't you? Am I being seriously weird about this?