Washing raw chicken can spread campylobacter – the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. It’s estimated that there are nearly 500,000 cases of food poisoning associated with Campylobacter each year in the UK, but surprisingly over a third of people in the UK admit to washing raw chicken.
Splashing water from washing raw meat can spread harmful food bugs onto kitchen surfaces, other food, hands and clothing and equipment which can lead to serious illness.
You can keep your family safe from food poisoning by not washing raw chicken, and taking the following steps:
- Chilling: Make sure the fridge temperature is running below 5 degrees celsius (the maximum temperature of a domestic refrigerator should be no more that 8 degrees celsius)
- Avoiding Cross-Contamination: Keep all raw food, whether it’s chicken, other meat or vegetables, separate from ready-to-eat foods to avoid spreading food poisoning bacteria
- Cleaning: Always wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry your hands thoroughly before and after handling food, especially when handling and preparing raw food including raw chicken. Remember you cannot see bacteria so even if your hands and work surfaces look clean always ensure that you wash your hands and surfaces before and after food preparation. For effective hand washing, wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds
- Cooking: Make sure chicken gets cooked thoroughly and is steaming hot all the way through. When you cut into the thickest part of a chicken, none of the meat should be pink – just because something is cooked on the outside does not mean it will be cooked on the inside. If juices flow out when you pierce the chicken or when you cut in to the thigh, they should be clear
- Reheating food: You should only reheat leftovers once. The more times you cool and reheat food the more potential there is for food poisoning. When you do reheat make sure that food is reheated thoroughly so that it is steaming hot all the way through
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