It’s a fact of life that chicken contains campylobacter: between May 2007 and September 2008 the European Food Safety Authority believes sixty five percent of all chicken sold in the UK was infected with the bacteria.
This isn’t an attempt at scaremongering, or doing an Edwina Currie, it’s an honest statement of fact. Without knowing the facts consumers are blind to potential issues and blind as to how to deal with them.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK with around 280,000 cases and it can prove fatal, especially for those under 5 and over 60. It’s also intrinsically linked with chicken.
A study released today (16/06/14) by the Food Standards Agency highlighted that 44% of 4,500 respondents washed raw chicken before cutting and cooking it. A third did so as they believed it removed germs and dirt. It doesn’t, it spreads them everywhere.
As water falls from the tap and splashes over the raw chicken, contaminated droplets are spread up to three feet away. Droplets of water now infect surfaces where they can be touched by children, other food or previously clean kitchenware and utensils.
There’s no need to wash chicken before cooking it
Properly cooking chicken will kill campylobacter: cook the meat until it is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear. If you have a meat thermometer to hand it’s recommended the internal temperature of the meat reaches 74 degrees celcius or 165 degrees fahrenheit – always check in more than one position and maintain this internal temperature for several minutes.
So please don’t wash chicken, doing so only jeopardises your own health and that of your family.
Cook it. Kill it. Eat it.