People often think it is the last thing they ate that caused them to have food poisoning, but rarely consider that it may actually not have been the food they ate, but the food they prepared!
Raw chicken is sadly still highly likely to be contaminated with Campylobacter – the latest FSA study still puts the figures at 59% of raw whole retail chickens being contaminated, and whilst this is an improvement, it means that we need to still think that the chances of having a contaminated chicken at home is high.
As Campylobacter can cause illness if ingested in small numbers, this raises the stakes of kitchen hygiene and personal hygiene – if you don’t wash your hands after handling raw chicken, you could spread the bacteria all over the kitchen and of course, if you are a nail biter, or eat something after handling chicken, you could put the bacteria directly in your mouth!
On BBC2 15th April 19.30, you can see me and Alice Roberts demonstrating the potential spread of Campylobacter around a kitchen. Watch this clip to see how easily it an be spread.
Top tips to Prevent you from getting Campylobacter
Getting organised can save you a huge amount of time and risk!
- Don’t be tempted to multi-task – keep raw chicken prep to itself!
- If making salads or ready-to-eat foods to go with the chicken dish, do this completely separately – best before you prepare the raw chicken so there is no risk of cross-contamination
- If you get distracted whilst handling chicken – for example the phone rings or a child wants a snack – wash your hands really well first
- Try not to touch chicken – use utensils – I use a fork to transfer chicken to the pan
- Don’t wash chicken – it is not necessary and spreads the bacteria everywhere
- Don’t wash chicken packaging -it does the same as washing chicken – speeds bacteria everywhere
- Wash your hands really well after handling raw chicken – I do it twice, and make sure you get into your nails!
- Wet your hands
- Apply soap
- Lather your palms, back of hands, rub your nails in the lather in the palm of your hand
- Rub between your fingers
- Don’t forget your thumbs
- Rinse well
- Dry with a piece of paper towel
- Clean and disinfect every surface that may have been contaminated by raw chicken – use an anti-bacterial spray, leave on the surface for a few minutes and then wipe clean with a paper towel (avoid cloths as they just collect bacteria)
- Don’t forget to disinfect any hand contact surface that you may have touched with dirty hands – telephone, drawer handles kitchen knobs, kettle, taps