Let’s hear it for the humble chicken. We love it. It’s healthy and versatile food and it brings us all together around the table for Sunday lunch and around the barbecue on sunny afternoons.
But there’s one thing we don’t love about it. Chicken can cause food poisoning. The FSA estimates that about 280,000 cases of food poisoning a year can be traced to Campylobacter – a germ found mostly on raw chicken. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, campylobacter can kill or paralyse you.
Campylobacter food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting. Some can have lasting effects for example irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system.
The FSA wants to cut the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning in half by the end of 2015. It could mean that over a hundred thousand fewer people would get sick next year. If everyone does their bit including industry and consumers this can happen. Pledging to take the Chicken Challenge and to do at least one thing to help keep our tummies safe and healthy will make a huge difference in helping to achieve this goal.
‘It’s clear that we all love chicken, we just need to take the time and be even more committed to ensuring we do the little things in the kitchen to keep our loved ones safe.’ said Nina Purcell, FSA Director.
Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North, says:
“Food safety involves everybody in the food chain. If we all take responsibility for ensuring we follow the simple rules, then we can all enjoy a safe and delicious dinner.“
The FSA is asking you to step up to the plate and promise to:
• Bag and store raw chicken separately from other food, covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge
• Not to wash raw chicken as it splashes germs
• Wash everything that’s touched raw chicken in soap and hot water – your hands and utensils
• Check chicken is cooked properly – no pink meat, steaming hot and the juices run clear
To take the pledge and the chance to win some amazing prizes visit www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge
What is campylobacter?
Campylobacter is the generic name for a number of species of bacteria that can cause food poisoning in people. They cause more cases of food poisoning in the UK than salmonella, E. coli and listeria combined.
Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. Between 50% and 80% of cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK and other EU countries can be attributed to poultry sources, mostly to raw poultry meat.
50% to 80% of confirmed cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry. Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, disability and even worse. Those most at risk are children and older people.
If you want your chicken meals to be remembered for the right reasons, follow the FSA’s advice on the recommended safe practices when preparing, cooking and storing chicken.
Find out more about the FSA’s Chicken Challenge at www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge