According to Food Safety Guru, 59% of raw chicken is infected with campylobacter bacteria.
When the chicken is washed, the bacteria is spread around the sink, on the draining board, on the taps, hands, apron and more.
More than one bacteria
When the sink is also used for fresh food preparation such as washing salads and fruit, these items can then be contaminated with the bacteria.
Campylobacter is only one of the bacteria that could be present on raw chicken or meat. Other bacteria include Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and E-coli.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) released guidance on reducing the risk of campylobacter earlier this year (June) after a survey revealed the levels of the food bug in chicken had declined.
The news came after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published results of a survey of campylobacter on fresh shop-bought UK-produced chicken.
The statistics revealed that, on average, 6.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, carrying more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram – this was down from 9.3% for the same period last year.
BHA food safety adviser Lisa Ackerley explained the top tips on how operators can ensure there is a minimal risk of the food contaminant:
- Prepare raw chickens in areas away from preparation of ready-to-eat foods such as salad items
- If possible, wear a plastic disposable apron when preparing raw meat and chicken so you don’t contaminate foods later in the day
- Never wash chicken because it will contaminate the sink and everything around the sink
- Wash hands thoroughly after handling chicken so you don’t contaminate areas of hand contact surfaces, such as bin handles (foot-operated bins are best)
- Cook chicken until it is 75°C all the way through
- Store raw chicken in the fridge below other foods and do not touch ready-to-eat foods
- Wash your hands after handling packets of raw chicken – the packaging may be contaminated with Campylobacter
- If making dishes such as chicken liver parfait, use the bain-marie method to ensure it is cooked all the way through to 75°C
- Remember others foods may have Campylobacter such as raw liver (pig or calf) so they need to be cooked thoroughly too