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article imageCampylobacter in UK — FSA launches 'Chicken Challenge 2015'

By Karen Graham     May 13, 2015 in Food
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.K. The Food Standards Agency, in a new study estimates that 280,000 people fell ill with Campylobacter food poisoning in 2014.
The growing concern in the U.K. over the number of raw chickens contaminated with the bacteria has prompted the FSA to declare the annual Food Safety Week of May 18-24, as the launch of its Chicken Challenge 2015.
Chicken Challenge 2015 will be a social media campaign to raise awareness about the risks of food-borne illness from chicken. Based on data collected by the agency, 58 percent of confirmed food-borne illnesses in the U.K. came from Campylobacter in poultry.
FSA Director of Policy, Steve Wearne, talking about the November 2014 study on Campylobacter in poultry, said in a statement: “These results show that the food industry, especially retailers, need to do more to reduce the amount of Campylobacter on fresh chickens. This shows there is a long way to go before consumers are protected from this bug. If chicken is cooked thoroughly and preparation guidelines are properly followed, the risk to the public is extremely low.”
According to the FSA, almost 2.2 million chickens are consumed every week in the U.K. So it can be said that people in the United Kingdom are great chickens eaters, par none. To participate, go to Chicken Challenge 2015 .
There you can watch a short video and click on "Count me in" to show your support for the endeavor. They already have almost one thousand supporters. You will also find some great recipes featuring chicken. You might want to enter the Chicken's Got Talent competition for the chance to win a five-day course at Leiths School of Food and Wine (travel and accommodation included).
In the meantime, consumers can already be taking steps to ensure they are handling poultry correctly to avoid any illness. It is really quite simple and involves using good food safety practices. The FSA suggests using these preparation guidelines when cooking poultry, or for that matter, any raw meat:
* Bag and store all raw poultry separately from all your other foods. Always store it in the bottom shelf of the fridge.
* Do not wash raw poultry. Splashing water spreads bacteria.
* Use hot water and soap to wash everything touched by raw poultry, including your utensils and hands.
* Check that poultry is cooked fully. This means there is no "pink" meat and juices run clear.
If using a meat thermometer, insert into thickest part of bird. The internal temperature must read 73.9 degrees C (or 160 degrees F.).
More about campylobacter, United Kingdom, Food poisoning, chicken challenge 2015, raw poultry
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