Experts call for wash ban on chicken

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Health experts have urged people to stop washing chicken before they cook it to avoid food poisoning.

More than two-fifths of cooks say that they wash chicken as part of their food preparations, but the British Food Standards Agency has issued a call to the public to stop the practice.

The FSA said that it can spread a type of bacteria around the kitchen through the splashing of water droplets.

Campylobacter bacteria is responsible for the majority of cases of food poisoning - with around 280,000 people affected across the UK each year.

The FSA said four out of every five cases are caused by contaminated chicken.

While most cases result in people suffering from abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting, some cases can lead to more significant health problems.

The FSA has now urged cooks to stop washing chicken before cooking it, saying the practice can spread campylobacter bacteria on to hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment through splashed water.

"Although people tend to follow recommended practice when handling poultry, such as washing hands after touching raw chicken and making sure it is thoroughly cooked, our research has found that washing raw chicken is also common practice," FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said.

"That's why we're calling on people to stop washing raw chicken and also raising awareness of the risks of contracting campylobacter as a result of cross-contamination.

"Campylobacter is a serious issue."

- AAP

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