Almost every cook washes the chicken thoroughly before he/she cooks it.
However, washing raw chicken before cooking it can be a serious health threat since the splashing tap water can disperse the bacteria from the chicken (campylobacter) on your clothes, hand sand kitchen utensils. Actually, water drops can fall 50cm far in all directions, and it takes only a few Campylobacter cells to cause food poisoning.
This Campylobacter is the most common reason of food poisoning and it can lead to abdominal pain, fever,severe diarrhea and vomiting. Then the symptoms of this severe condition normally appear 2 to 5 days after eating the contaminated food. They usually disappear without treatment for the same period. In more severe cases, Campylobacter infection can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome,reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and miscarriage.
Groups that are particularly at risk are the elderly, young kids, and people with weakened immune system, especially people affected with cancer or HIV.
It’s very important to know that washing raw chicken, specifically the blood residues, doesn’t make it any cleaner or freeof bacteria; you only achieve this when the chicken is properly cooked.
Moreover, freezing the raw chicken cuts down the amount of Campylobacter; still, it doesn’t remove it completely. The mostharmless way to eliminate Campylobacter thoroughly is to cook the chicken properly.
Even though this is nothing new, after the results of a survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which showed that 44% people still wash the chicken before they cook it,it was issued a warning to raise awareness against Campylobacter food poisoning.
Prevent Campylobacter poisoning
- Cover and chill raw chicken
If you want to minimize the risks of Campylobacter food poisoning, cover the raw chicken and store it at the bottom of the fridge so as to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods in the fridge and thus contaminate them.
- Do not wash raw chicken
You should always know that cooking, specifically high temperature will destroy any present bacteria, including campylobacter. Oppositely, washing the chicken can only spread the germs.
- Wash used utensils
One another important thing to remember is to thoroughly wash and clean all kitchen utensils, surfaces and chopping boards that you have used for preparing raw chicken. Wash your hands thoroughly as well, with a soap and warm water because this too will prevent the spread of campylobacter.
- Cook chicken thoroughly
As we previously mentioned, proper cooking is essential for reducing any risk of Campylobacter food poisoning. Be certain that your chicken is steaming hot all the way through before you serve it. Check if the chicken is steaming hot and there is not pink, uncooked meat, by cutting deep into the thickest part. The juices must also run clear.