Bag Your Chicken And Separate From Other Foods To Prevent Food Poisoning, Warn Officials

In a bid to prevent the spread of food poisoning bug campylobacter, health officials have warned shoppers to separate their poultry from other food in the fridge by keeping it in a bag.

Meanwhile a report will be published later this week, which names and shames supermarkets where the danger from campylobacter is most acute.

According to the Food Standards Agency, the bacteria, which grows in the guts of chickens, is being transferred to the outer packaging of the birds during processing.

Last week we were told that freezing chicken could reduce the risk of campylobacter. Now separating it into a bag seems like the more effective option.

People touching the packaging of chicken could easily pick up the bacteria and should wash their hands with soap and warm water afterwards to be completely safe, said a spokesman from the Food Standards Agency.

"You could put raw poultry in a separate bag as well, as there is always a small risk," he added.

In the UK, campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of food poisoning, says the NHS.

Around 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year are associated with the bug.

According to a report published by the FSA earlier this year, around six in 10 whole supermarket chickens are infected with the bacteria. In 4% of cases, this bacteria is found outside of the packaging.

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Know The Symptoms

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“A bout of food poisoning can really knock you for six – with vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever and chills," says Dr Nitin Shori, Medical Director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service.

"It tends to pass within a couple of days though and can usually be treated at home, by resting, staying hydrated and avoiding foods and drinks that aggravate your stomach further.

“It is advisable to seek medical advice if you are in a higher risk group though – for example, if you are pregnant."

He adds that food poisoning can cause dehydration, especially as sickness makes it more difficult to keep fluids down.

"Rehydration salts can sometimes be recommendable for people who are likely to be more susceptible to its effects, such as those with other health conditions and the elderly.

“If dehydration is severe or other symptoms are persisting, it’s important to seek medical help. In some cases, a course of antibiotics may be appropriate to help fight the campylobacter bacteria.

“Of course, prevention is better than a cure. This type of bacteria is often found on raw meat, so be careful when handling and cooking it – particularly poultry.”

[H/T Telegraph]