A worrying 362 people were unlucky enough to get campylobacter food poisoning last year in Plymouth.
It’s one of the most common types of food poising and is mostly found lurking on raw chicken. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, campylobacter can kill or paralyse you.
Now Plymouth City Council has joined other councils across the country as part of this year’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Safety Week (18-24 May).
Campylobacter food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated or undercooked food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting. Some can have lasting effects for example irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system.
The FSA wants to cut the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning in half by the end of 2015. It could mean that over a hundred thousand fewer people would get sick next year. If everyone does their bit including industry and consumers this can happen.
Cabinet member for the Environment Councillor Brian Vincent said: “Campylobacter is a nasty little germ that’s the most common cause of food poisoning. The good news is it’s very easy to kill; you simply need to make sure any chicken you eat is thoroughly cooked.
“It’s also important to remember that despite what your granny may have said you don’t need to wash your chicken before you cook it. Some of the worst culprits for making us feel un-well are things like undercooked chicken liver pate, eating chicken goujons raw, thinking they were already cooked and simply not washing your hands after preparing chicken dishes.”
To try and raise awareness the FSA is asking people to take the chicken challenge. They want 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.