Chicken Challenge

Let’s hear a big cheer for the humble chicken!  

We love it, it’s a healthy and versatile food and it brings us together around the table for Sunday lunch or for a barbeque on a sunny afternoon.

In a Food Standards Agency (FSA) poll almost three quarters (73%) of us eat chicken every week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  72% of 16-24 year olds and 52% of over 25 year olds agreed that chicken was their favourite meat.

However, there is one problem; raw chicken can cause food poisoning.  The FSA estimate that approximately 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year can be traced to Campylobacter – a germ found mainly on raw chicken.  You can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it but if it affects you, you WILL know that you have it!  At its very worst Campylobacter can kill or paralyse you.

Campylobacter food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and symptoms may include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting.  It can lead to lasting effects such as irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and in some rare cases Guillain Barre Syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system.

The Food Standards Agency wants to reduce the number of cases of Campylobacter in half by the end of 2015.  This would mean that over 100,000 fewer people would get sick next year.  It can happen, just by everyone doing their bit including industry and consumers.

‘It’s clear that we all love chicken, we just need to take the time and be even more committed to ensuring we do the little things in the kitchen to keep our loved ones safe.’ Said Nina Purcell, FSA Director.

Take the Chicken Challenge Pledge 

Do at least one thing to help keep tummies safe and healthy - It will make a big difference in helping to achieve this goal.

  • Bag and store raw chicken separately from other food, covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge
  • Do not wash raw chicken as it splashes and causes germs on everywhere the splashes touch
  • Wash everything that has touched raw chicken in soap and hot water – including your hands and utensils
  • Check that chicken, be it roasted or barbequed is cooked properly, there is no pink meat, it is steaming hot and the juices from the chicken are running clear

What is campylobacter?

Campylobacter is the generic name for a number of species of bacteria that can cause food poisoning in people. They cause more cases of food poisoning in the UK than salmonella, E. coli and listeria combined. 

Campylobacter bacteria are commonly found on poultry meat. Between 50% and 80% of cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK and other EU countries can be attributed to poultry sources, mostly to raw poultry meat. 

Why it’s important?

Campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry.  Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, disability and even worse.  Those most at rist are children and older people.

If you want your chicken meals to be remembered for the right reasons, follow the FSA’s advice on the recommended safe practices when preparing, cooking and storing chicken.