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Many of us were shocked at last week’s news that nearly 75% of fresh chickens sold in the UK are contaminated with the food poisoning bug campylobacter.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducted a survey which found a fifth of chickens tested positive for the bug which is responsible for more than 280,000 cases of food poisoning, including 100 deaths in the UK each year.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK with a staggering 80% of all campylobacter poisoning cases caused by eating contaminated chicken.
Salmonella and E.coli are also found in uncooked chicken and all three bugs can cause us to suffer acute diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever.
Although symptoms normally improve within seven days, food poisoning can last longer and children under five as well as the elderly are particularly at risk of serious complications.
Seeing as more than 60 million of us in the UK love eating chicken according to the British Poultry Council, what steps can we take to minimise our risk of becoming ill?
Good hygiene practice is essential from the moment you pick your chicken from the shop shelf as the plastic packaging used to wrap supermarket chickens may also be contaminated with food poisoning bugs.
When placing chicken in your trolley or basket, try to keep it separate from ready to eat items such as fruit which you may not always wash before eating.
Some people prefer to use separate shopping bags for uncooked meat to avoid what is known as “cross-contamination” of harmful bacteria.
Once you have bought your chicken it is strongly recommended to put it in the fridge as soon as possible, preferably within an hour, as bacteria can thrive on raw meat if left unchilled.
Once chicken is in the fridge it should be kept covered and placed on a plate to collect any blood - ideally on the bottom shelf so that any leaking fluids cannot drip on food stored below.
When preparing your chicken for the oven, you don’t need to rinse it first as doing so can spray contaminated droplets around your kitchen.
You should always ensure your oven is preheated to the right temperature before placing your chicken inside as too low a temperature can delay cooking times and cause bacteria to flourish.
To check whether your chicken is fully cooked you can pierce the leg joint to ensure any juices that appear run clear. This will confirm that all protein in the blood and body fluids is properly cooked and the chicken is safe to eat.
Claims Direct is one of the largest personal injury claims management companies in the UK.
We have Personal Injury Solicitors that specialise in food poisoning compensation claims, and we can arrange for rehabilitation support to be provided anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales.
Our Personal Injury Solicitors deal with food poisoning claims on a No Win No Fee basis. We can help you with free, expert legal advice and we can tell you if your claim is likely to succeed. For a free consultation call Claims Direct on freephone 0808 175 7900 or start your claim online.
Claims Direct is a trading name of Slater and Gordon UK Limited, a company registered in England & Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 125 446 327, registered office 58 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for insurance mediation activity.