Food Standards Agency Urge Public Not To Wash Raw Chicken2:08 pm
Kicking off the start of this year’s Food Safety Week, the Food Standards Agency has warned people to stop washing raw chicken to reduce the risk of contracting Campylobacter - a potentially dangerous form of food poisoning.
Latest figures have revealed that 44% of people always wash chicken before cooking it. In doing so, this can spread Campylobacter bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment through the splashing of water.
Campylobacter can be easily spread and it takes just a few bacteria to cause a potentially fatal illness. The food bug can come from raw or undercooked chicken, or from a cross- contamination due to washing raw chicken.
Cooking of the meat will kill any bacteria present, including Campylobacter.
Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning, causing more cases of food poisoning than E.coli, Listeria and Salmonella put together.
In the UK, Campylobacter affects an estimated 280, 000 people a year. Four in five of these cases come from contaminated poultry.
Those most at risk are children aged five and under and the elderly.
Here’ some rules from the Food Standards Agency to prevent Campylobacter from causing food poisoning;
1. Cover and chill raw chicken. Cover the raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so any juices don’t drip onto other foods and contaminate with bacteria.
2. Don’t wash raw chicken. Washing raw chicken can spread bacteria, though cooking does kill any bacteria present.
3. Wash used utensils. All utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken will need to be washed thoroughly. Wash hands with soap and warm water after handling raw chicken too. This will help to prevent the spread of Campylobacter and avoid cross- contamination.
4. Cook chicken thoroughly. Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through. Cut into the thickest part of the meat, checking that it is not pink and the juices run clear.
View the FSA infographic for your quick guide to Campylobacter.
For more ways to avoid the spread of bacteria and cross contamination, view our guide on colour coded chopping boards and colour coded cleaning.
By Penny Ford