Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are You Ready To Take The Chicken Challenge?

As anyone who has fallen victim to the food poisoning bug campylobacter can testify – it is not the nicest way to while away a few days, or even weeks.

At one end of the scale, sufferers will spend an uncomfortable couple of days with diarrhea, while at the other end, it can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting and dehydration leaving its victim weak for several days, or even with lasting effects.

Last year, more than 50 people in Craven suffered as a result of picking up the bug – the most common form of food poisoning in the country.

And as a result, Craven District Council has joined a national campaign aimed at educating people in how to avoid picking it up.

Campylobacter can be picked up in a number of ways, including from pet dogs or cats, but it is most commonly transferred from raw meat, and in most cases, from chicken.

The Food Standards Agency wants to cut the number of cases of campylobacter poisoning across the country by half by the end of the year.

And to help, the council is asking people to take the Chicken Challenge, and think carefully about the way they prepare poultry in their own homes.

Sharon Lord, the council’s senior environmental health officer, said: “Our food safety team investigates cases of food poisoning and if they are found to originate from a food premises in the district, we will follow it up with them.

“We carry out regular checks on all food premises to ensure the public is protected and that high standards are maintained. These inspections aim to ensure that food is being handled and produced hygienically to minimise the potential risk of food poisoning. We make sure food handling staff are trained in food hygiene and we respond to any complaints from the public. ”

But, many cases of campylobacter food poisoning originated in homes, from people not preparing their meat properly.

“That’s why it’s so important to follow the FSA’s advice on the recommended safe practices when preparing, cooking and storing chicken for yourself and for your family,” she said.

Nina Purcell, FSA Director, said: “It’s clear that we all love chicken, we just need to take the time and be even more committed to ensuring we do the little things in the kitchen to keep our loved ones safe.”

Almost three-quarters of us eat chicken every week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But if it’s not prepared correctly, campylobacter can kill or paralyse you.

Campylobacter food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhea 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 is asking 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

People can take the pledge and have the chance to win some amazing prizes at

For more information on Craven District Council’s Food Safety team go to: