On the 18 May 2015 the Food Standards Agency are launching food safety week and asking consumers to pledge to the chicken challenge. This campaign is focused on handling chicken safely with the aim of cutting Campylobacter food poisoning in half by the end of 2015.
Campylobacter is a foodbourne pathogen that is the most common known cause of food poisoning in the UK. Over a quarter of a million people each year are struck down with the illness which can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting.
Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. About 4 out of 5 cases of Campylobacter infections in the UK can be attributed to poultry sources, mostly raw poultry meat. One of the main ways to get and spread Campylobacter poisoning is through touching raw chicken. Washing raw chicken can actually spread the bacteria by splashing it onto the hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.
Spread the word, not the germs
To avoid the spread of Campylobacter in the home just follow these 4 simple steps
- Cover and chill raw chicken – Cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on to other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria
- Don’t wash raw chicken – Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present, including Campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs around the kitchen by splashing
- Wash hands and used utensils – Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw chicken
- Cook chicken thoroughly – Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat and check it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear
For more information on the Chicken Challenge go to www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge.