Check your chicken – City Council backs food safety campaign

Press Release: 12/06/2014

Roast chicken

Winchester residents are being advised to ‘check their chicken’ in a food safety campaign backed by the City Council.

During Food Safety Week (16-22 June), The Food Standards Agency is highlighting the dangers of ‘campylobacter’ which is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK with about four out of five cases coming from contaminated poultry.

And the City Council is supporting the campaign, urging Winchester people to handle and prepare chicken with extra care by not washing raw chicken, cooking it properly and enjoying it safely.

Cllr Jan Warwick, City Council Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health & Wellbeing, said:

You can’t see campylobacter, you can’t smell it or even taste it on food but, if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, it can kill.

By checking your chicken and following some simple guidelines for preparation we can all be sure to enjoy it safely.

The advice is:

  • Do not wash raw chicken because germs can spread to kitchen surfaces, clothing and utensils by splashing
  • Cooking will kill any bacteria present including campylobacter
  • When cooking for barbecues always cut into the thickest part of chicken portions to check that the meat is piping hot inside with no pink meat remaining
  • Pierce whole chickens in the thickest part of the leg – between the drumstick and thigh – with a clean knife or skewer until the juices run out. The juices should not have any pink or red in them and there should be no pink meat
  • Ensure food is piping hot before serving it whether you are cooking or re-heating. Food that is only partially heated may still contain harmful bacteria which can quickly multiply to unsafe numbers

The Food Standards Agency campaign aims to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem. Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry.

Bob Martin, Head of Foodborne Disease Strategy at the Food Standards Agency, said:

This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to act together to tackle campylobacter.

People in Winchester can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care – don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely.

It’s important that we do our part to make sure that people know to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families. We’re proud to be keeping people in Winchester safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word – and not the germs.

Advice is available at and look out for leaflets in your local area