FSA: People of Wales urged to stop washing raw chicken
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have issued a call for people in Wales and across the UK to stop washing raw chicken to reduce the risk of contracting campylobacter, which can lead to a potentially dangerous form of food poisoning.
The call comes as new figures released today show that 48% of people in Wales always wash chicken before cooking it.
Campylobacter is a serious issue.
Not only can it cause severe illness and death, but it costs the economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year as a result of sickness absence and the burden on the NHS.
Telling the public about the risks and how to avoid them is just one part of our plan to tackle campylobacter.
The FSA are leading a campaign that brings together the whole food chain, which includes working with farmers and producers to reduce rates of campylobacter in flocks of broiler chickens and ensuring that slaughterhouses and processors are taking steps to minimise the levels of contamination in birds.
Dr Ruth Hussey OBE, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said:
‘In Wales, around 300 cases of food poisoning caused by campylobacter are confirmed every month. In many of these cases the washing and handling of chicken is implicated. Taking action and following the Food Standards Agency advice of ‘don’t wash raw chicken’ will help reduce the numbers of people becoming ill with this food poisoning.’
A survey commissioned by the FSA found that levels of awareness of campylobacter are well below that of other forms of food poisoning. Almost 90% of people in Wales had heard of salmonella (88%) and E.coli (87%), whereas only 32% of people know about campylobacter.
The most cited reasons that the Welsh public gave for washing chicken were the removal of dirt (34%), getting rid of germs (34%), that that they had always done it (37%) and that a parent or relative did it (34%).
For more information on the FSA’s campylobacter campaign, and for guidance on the safest way to handle chicken, visit food.gov.uk/chicken
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