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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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More than half of you wash raw chicken and that's really dangerous

Your mammy might always have given it a rinse but it’s safer for you and the rest of your family if you don’t.

Image: chicken image via Shutterstock

THIS WEEK, BRITAIN’S Food Standards Agency issued a warning about the dangers of washing raw chicken.

In Britain, 44% of people wash raw chicken before they cook it, but figures from Safefood for the Republic of Ireland show that more than half – or 57% – of Irish people do the same.

Not surprisingly, two thirds said they do it because their mammies (or families in general) have always washed it under the tap, while one in five said they do it because they saw it on TV.

The respondents in this survey were those who said they were responsible for cooking at home and 94% of them said they would describe themselves as “confident” in their cooking skills.

Well, they’d want to listen up now, because our own Food Safety Authority has said they recommend the same as their counterparts in the UK.

Jane Ryder of the FSAI told TheJournal.ie that those who wash raw chicken are “just splashing all of the campylobacter and germs from the chicken all over the kitchen”.

Campylobacter is the main cause of food poisoning in Ireland and the number of cases peaks in the summer months.

Last year, 2, 388 people became ill because of it with the majority of these cases being in the 0-4 years and 20-24 years age ranges. For most people, it means a couple of days with a dodgy tummy, but babies, the elderly and other vulnerable people could become seriously ill because of the bacteria.

It can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can leave victims paralysed.

“Cooking kills campylobacter but when you’ve splashed it all on your counter, you’re not going to cook your counter afterwards,” Ryder said. “No one thinks about getting food poisoning from it.”

Her advice is to avoid cross contamination by cooking your raw chicken directly from the container or bag it came in, use separate utensils and cutting boards for chicken and other foods and wash those hands.

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