Don’t wash raw chicken – that’s the message from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) this Food Safety Week 16-22 June.
Each year, the FSA champions a key food safety message and this year, East Northamptonshire Council is showing its support of the advice to not wash poultry before cooking.
One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter (pronounced cam-pie-lo-bac-tor) is by touching raw chicken. In particular, washing raw chicken can spread campylobacter by splashing it onto work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. It can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting. In certain cases it can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and Guillain-Barr syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system. At its worst, it can kill.
Protect yourself and those that you care for by not washing chicken. Wash your hands and utensils in warm soapy water after touching raw chicken, and cook it until it’s steaming hot all the way through, and the juices run clear.
Bob Martin, Head of Foodborne Disease Strategy at the Food Standards Agency said: “This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to do act together to tackle Campylobacter. People in East Northamptonshire can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.”
Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North adds: “It’s important that we do our part to make sure that people know to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families. We’re proud to be keeping people in East Northamptonshire safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word – and not the germs.”
Council officers will be at Thrapston Co-op on 16 June, Waitrose in Rushden on 17 June and Waitrose in Oundle on 19 June, from 11am to 3pm. Drop by for some handy advice and tips on food safety.
For more information about Food Safety Week 2014 and top tips on how to prepare and cook chicken safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/chicken You can also join in conversations on twitter.com/foodgov or www.facebook.com/FoodStandardsAgency