It may be one of the go-to versatile and protein rich meat of choice for dieters. But chicken is a source of one of the commonest foodborne illnesses reported in Ireland, according to the food safety watchdog.
Levels of the potentially lethal gastro bug Campylobacteriosis have sky-rocketed according to official figures. A total 2, 615 cases of the illness were reported in 2014 – the latest figures released by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Poultry meat like chicken and turkey is one of the most likely source.Most people who become ill will develop diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever within two to five days of swallowing campbylobacter. But they should fully recover within a week. However if someone has a compromised immune system Campylobacter can spread to the bloodstream and cause serious-life threatening infection.
There is good news though from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre there are ways to reduce the risk of infection with some kitchen common sense. It urges people to
- Cook all poultry produces thoroughly. The meat is cooked properly when it is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
- Never eat poultry that is partially cooked.
- After handling raw poultry wash hands with soap before touching anything else.
- Wash all chopping boards and work surfaces and utensils with soap and hot water after preparing raw poultry.
- Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk and untreated surface water which are two other potential sources of campylobacter.