Wednesday 26 April 2017

Prepare chicken with caution

Always wash hands before and after handling raw meat.
Always wash hands before and after handling raw meat.

Although most people associate food poisoning with salmonella, the biggest risk is from another bug, Campylobacter. There are around 10 times more reported cases of Campylobacter in Ireland annually to salmonella.

While the annual toll from salmonella is now reduced to around 270 cases, there were 2,454 cases of Campylobacter in 2015.

The Irish rate of Campylobacter is 53 per 100,000 population, which is lower than the European average of 65.5, but much higher than in countries like the Netherlands.

Internationally, it is estimated that handling and preparation of chicken and consumption of undercooked chicken meat accounts for approximately 30pc of human cases of Campylobacter.

It is a naturally occurring bacterium found in the intestinal tract of livestock and poultry used for food production and can therefore be transmitted through a variety of foods of animal origin.

Caterers need to handle and store raw poultry correctly to avoid cross-contamination with ready-to-eat food. Hands and utensils should always be washed after handling raw poultry, and poultry should be cooked thoroughly until there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.

In the home kitchen, the advice is to not wash a chicken before cooking because contaminated water can splash on to hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.

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