FSA surveys fresh chickens for likelihood of food poisoning

From barbecue wings to nuggets, spatchcock chicken to stir-fry, we all love the versatile taste of this popular poultry, but it does come with food safety concerns. A recent study from the FSA looking specifically at the campylobacter bacteria, which is the most likely to give you food poisoning, has found that whilst overall levels have gone down, all is not fair in the supermarket aisles.

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THE FSA study

This latest study is the most recent of an ongoing project starting in 2014, looking at the changing levels of the campylobacter bacteria in British sold chicken.

The good news is that the FSA can confirm a continuing trend of lower levels of the bacteria. It found that the percentage of chicken on UK shelves with any level of the bacteria ranged from 30-60%. Looking at this result, most supermarkets are relatively the same; M & S and Lidl, for example, both coming in at around 57%. What is worth looking at, however, is the percentage of those that had ‘dangerous’ levels of over 1000 cfu/g campylobacter, which then saw a marked difference, with M & S at 2.5% and Lidl at 9.2%.

How can I keep my family safe?

Chicken recipes, like those at are hugely popular in the UK, where many cite chicken as their favourite food. Despite the numbers of the bacteria going down, the better the food safety you perform in your home, the lower the likelihood of your family potentially getting seriously ill.

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Cover raw chicken and keep it chilled. Chill it at the bottom of the fridge so raw juices don’t spill out over food. Never wash raw chicken, which is more likely to splash bacteria around the kitchen than kill bacteria in the first place. In fact, correct cooking is what will kill the bacteria, so always make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked. Lastly, properly wash any utensils that have been exposed to raw chicken, this includes the chopping board and your hands. Wash immediately after use and disinfect your surfaces once you have finished preparing raw chicken.

If you have any worries about where you’re buying your chicken from or how to cook and prepare it properly, refer to the website which has all sorts of handy tips for better food safety.

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