A large portion of chicken sold by leading supermarkets in the UK is reportedly contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria that is the cause of sickness for hundreds of thousands people a year. What can be done?
The 18th-24th May marked a week of awareness for the epidemic that is food poisoning with Food Safety Week. This year, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) placed a particular focus on the dangers of the UK’s most common cause of food poisoning, campylobacter.
280,000 people suffer campylobacter food poisoning each year, 100 of whom have tragically died from the effects of eating contaminated food. In our previous blog, Beware the Chicken, we addressed the great risk that raw chicken poses to consumers in the UK.
In rivalling the very real concern of liability for potential food poisoning, Asda are actively attempting to reduce the levels of campylobacter on raw poultry by steam cleaning their birds. FSA research previously revealed that Asda’s chicken was ranked the worst of those contaminated by the bug, with 78.9% of all Asda chicken posing as a risk. A third of their chickens carried the bug at its highest level.
The supermarket are now using a process called SonoStream to clean the poultry, along with new leak-proof packaging, as well as deciding 50% of their chicken will be sold in “roast in the bag” packaging, which means consumers will not need to handle the raw poultry until it is thoroughly cooked, reducing the spread of campylobacter.
Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer, Tristan Hallam, commented, “To be clear on this point, I understand the vast majority of bacteria is killed when chicken is cooked correctly. The body, I also understand, generally has the ability to deal adequately and properly with any bacteria that is left over. Chicken - because it is nutritious and relatively cheap - is the mainstay of many meals and there is no reason why it should not continue to remain the mainstay of many families’ meals.”
To ensure you win the fight against contaminated chicken at home:
- cover and chill raw chicken, storing it at the bottom of the fridge so that other foods cannot be affected by the juices.
- don’t wash raw chicken, as this may spread germs whereas cooking will kill any present bacteria.
- wash used utensils, to ensure the bacteria does not spread.
- cook chicken thoroughly. You can check you’ve cooked chicken properly by ensuring there is not pink meat in the centre.
Slater and Gordon No Win, No Fee Solicitors have won compensation for many people who suffered from food poisoning in the UK and abroad caused by Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, Hepatitis A virus and E. Coli.
For a free consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online to start your claim.