Did you know that 3 out of 4 store chickens are contaminated with the bacteria campylobacter? The bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain, and is the most common cause of food poisoning!
Good hygiene is the most important thing to remember when handling chicken. This starts the moment that you pick it up from the store shelf, to the moment you cook it. In around 7% of cases, the outside packaging may also be contaminated with campylobacter bacteria, so make sure you store it in a bag and away from any food that would not be washed before eating.
Symptoms from campylobacter usually improve in a week, but in 20% of cases it can last longer, and even cause more serious complications. E.coli and salmonella are also among the list of bacteria commonly found on store bought chicken.
Avoid food poisoning and follow these top safety tips:
- If you use an eco friendly shopping bag, make sure you wash it regularly and save one just for raw meats, as other foods may be cross contaminated by the bacteria.
- Raw meat should be take straight from the shop, home to the refrigerator or the freezer. The general rule of thumb is that raw meat should be back in the fridge within 1 hour of being purchased.
- Always keep raw meats in the fridge or freezer. Keep them on the lowest shelf, covered and on a plate to catch any blood.
- Never wash a chicken, it does not remove germs, but it does spread them across the kitchen.
- Defrost thoroughly before cooking. The best way is in the fridge.
- Always get the oven up to the correct temperature before cooking. Starting a lower heat is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Make sure it is cooked all the way through. Use a skewer to pierce the leg joint at the deepest part, to check that the juices run clear.
- Never put leftovers in the fridge until they are cooled to room temperature. Putting warm food into the refrigerator will raise the temperature and increase the bacteria.
- Wipe down all surfaces with an antibacterial cleaning product.
Source: Daily Mail