Sefton Council is supporting this year’s Food Safety Week campaign by asking residents to take the Chicken Challenge.

The annual campaign, run by the Food Standards Agency, highlights good practice and this year asks people to follow some simple rules when preparing chicken.

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

But there’s just one thing people don’t love about it – chicken can cause food poisoning. The FSA estimate that about 280,000 cases of food poisoning a year can be traced to Campylobacter – a germ found mostly on raw chicken.

Campylobacter food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting.

The FSA wants to cut the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning in half by the end of 2015.

Pledging to take the Chicken Challenge and to do at least one thing to help keep us safe and healthy will make a huge difference in helping to achieve this goal.

The FSA is asking people to step up to the plate and promise to:

  • Bag and store raw chicken separately from other food, covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge
  • Not to wash raw chicken as it splashes germs
  • Wash everything that’s touched raw chicken in soap and hot water – your hands and utensils
  • Check chicken is cooked properly – no pink meat, steaming hot and the juices run clear

Terry Wood, Sefton Council’s Food Safety Manager, said: “It is very clear that many of us love chicken but we just need to take the time and be even more committed to ensuring we do the little things in the kitchen to keep everyone safe.

“50% to 80% of confirmed cases of 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 risk 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.”

To take the pledge and the chance to win some amazing prizes visit www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge

For advice on handling poultry safely see www.food.gov.uk/chicken

 

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