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Chicken Food Safety Message in Ribble Valley

Published Friday, 13 June 2014

Don't wash chicken! That’s the message from Ribble Valley Borough Council during Food Safety Week from 16 - 22 June.

About a quarter of a million people in the UK are struck down by campylobacter, the most common form of food poisoning, each year.

And of the 123 reported cases of food poisoning in Ribble Valley last year, 84 were from campylobacter.

Now Ribble Valley Borough Council has joined forces with the Food Standards Agency to tackle the problem.

Farmers and producers will be asked to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry, while householders are being advised not to wash raw chicken.

James Russell, head of environmental health at Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning and a serious problem.

“We are calling on the food sector to do act together to tackle it and consumers can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.”

Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after consuming contaminated food and leads to abdominal pain, diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting.

It can last for between two and 10 days, and can be particularly severe in children and the elderly.

About four in five cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry and one of the main ways to get and spread it is through touching raw chicken.

The Food Standards Agency is advising householders not to wash raw chicken, which can spread germs to kitchen surfaces, clothing and utensils.

On a quarterly basis over the next year, the agency will release the results of tests carried out on about 1,000 samples of chicken sold by UK retailers, including where it was bought, the abattoir that processed it, whether or not the sample contained campylobacter and if so how badly it was contaminated.

Slaughterhouses and food processors will be targeted by the agency to ensure they use keep levels of poultry contamination to a minimum, while Ribble Valley Borough Council will be targeting caterers to ensure their staff avoid cross-contamination during the handling or cooking of food.

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