Foodborne illnesses or food poisoning is one of the leading causes of illnesses and even deaths in many parts of the world. Most common cases are caused due to Campylobacter, E. coli, and Salmonella bacteria that are found in birds, cattle, and poultry, respectively. Consumption of uncooked or raw chicken, contaminated by these bacteria, leads to food poisoning and related illnesses. This infection can be serious, and sometimes, even life-threatening if the person is already suffering from a poor state of health or a weakened immune system. Therefore, in order to avoid this, one should follow the food safety measures recommended by the health organizations.
Food Safety Issues With Chicken
You need to buy, store, handle, and cook with extra care to prevent contracting infections. Here are some measures to be followed.
- Chicken should be cold to touch while purchasing.
- When buying grocery, it is always better to buy chicken at the last.
- One must check whether the chicken is packed properly, or use disposable bags to avoid contamination of other foods.
- When buying ready-to-eat/cooked chicken dish, make sure it is fresh and hot.
- It is not recommended to buy a stuffed chicken for later use as it has high chances of getting spoiled.
- It is better to buy chicken products of the same (reliable) brand rather than using the trial-and-error methods.
- Chicken bought from the market should be immediately stored in the refrigerator at 40 degree Fahrenheit or 4 degree Celsius.
- It is advisable to check the expiry date of the product and use it within the estimated time.
- Cooked chicken should be cut into pieces and stored in clean containers or disposable bags, and frozen at the aforementioned temperature.
- It is better to avoid consuming freezer-burned chicken.
- Frozen chicken should NEVER be defrosted at the normal room temperature, i.e., directly over the counter.
- One should defrost chicken in the refrigerator, by placing it in cold water, or heating it in the microwave.
- One should use clean utensils while cooking frozen chicken to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Cook chicken up to the estimated time and or until it is no longer pink inside.
- Actually, it is not essential to wash raw chicken. Food safety rules suggest that all the harmful bacteria get killed, in any case, on cooking at a higher temperature.
- Chicken should be cooked separately and kept away from other raw foodstuffs or salads.
- Frozen chicken should be immediately cooked after defrosting. Especially if it is defrosted in a microwave.
- Do not store or freeze partially cooked chicken for later use as it may contain harmful bacteria.
- If the chicken is freezer-burned, chop off the affected portions before cooking.
- According to food safety rules, chicken, heated or cooked up to 165 degree Fahrenheit or 74 degree Celsius, is safe to consume.
- Liquid marinade used for marinating chicken should be boiled before use. Also, it should not be stored and used again later.
Following these food safety measures and tips can help in prevention of infection to a great extent. Lastly, one should also remember to use separate cutlery and utensils for cutting, dressing, and cooking chicken to prevent contamination of other vegetarian or raw foodstuffs. Good luck!