Australia’s leading chicken meat and food safety experts are calling on Australians to stop washing raw chicken. The Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) and the Food Safety Information Council are concerned by new research that found nearly half (49 per cent) of Australian cooks were washing raw whole chicken before cooking it, despite the food safety risk that it presents.
ACMF Executive Director Dr Vivien Kite says, “We are still seeing recipes advising cooks to wash raw chicken as part of food preparation, and with Christmas festivities just around the corner, we want this to stop. Some bacteria, like Salmonella, are part of the normal microflora of the chicken gut but can cause illness in humans if food is not handled correctly. Washing raw chicken before cooking it is likely to splash raw meat juices and any bacteria that may be present around the kitchen sink, bench top and utensils, and other raw foods, increasing the chance that you might get sick.”
Top tips for handling raw chicken safely:
- Don’t wash raw chicken
- Keep raw chicken separate from other cooked or raw foods
- Ensure your tools, utensils and chopping boards are cleaned and dried thoroughly before you start preparing your food and ensure you clean any tools with hot soapy water after use
- Store raw chicken in the fridge for 1 – 2 days after bringing it home, preferably towards the back of the fridge and on the lower shelves
- Wash and dry hands thoroughly after handing raw chicken
- Cook chicken meat thoroughly right through, with all parts of the meat to reach at least 75°C
Dr Kite says, “Chicken is the nation’s favourite meat, with Australians consuming approximately 47 kgs per person each year. The Australian chicken meat industry has been working incredibly hard to ensure there will be a solid supply of chicken for Christmas. The summer festive season is the most popular time of the year for Australians to enjoy chicken, and we don’t want festivities to be ruined by a food safety slip-up.
Whether you like it hot, cold, in a roast or on your sandwich, there are plenty of reasons for Australians to enjoy chicken at Christmas, but please handle it safely”, said Dr Kite.
Did you know:
- More than 99 per cent of chicken meat consumed in Australia is grown in Australia
- Chicken has the lowest environmental footprint of all meats
- Chicken is versatile and inexpensive
- Chicken meat is an excellent source of protein
- Cooked chicken is a source of essential nutrients including vitamins B6, B12 and niacin, and minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc
- Cooked chicken delivers more protein in fewer kilojoules than cooked legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds