I don't have a problem with chicken. But raw chicken tends to skeeve me out, because it's so slimy and icky. And, now we have yet another reason to be afraid of it.
Food safety officials in the United Kingdom are reporting that 40 percent of raw chicken packages are crawling with bacteria called campylobacter that causes food poisoning -- on the outside of the wrapping!
Are you digesting what this means? It means, quite simply, that you are more likely to get sick from handling an unopened package of chicken in the supermarket than you are from actually handling the raw meat. Scary!
And your chances of food-borne illness are further increased if a contaminated package touches such things as, say, your reusable grocery bag or other items in your refrigerator. *Retch*
Now, a few things must be said about this new study, which is the first to test packaging versus the actual meat: For one thing, it only looked at 20 packets of chicken (eight of which had food poisoning bacteria on their wrapping while seven chickens were contaminated inside the packet; one tested positive for salmonella).
A study that looks at such a small number of test subjects is far from definitive. Yet, any information that causes us to be mindful about how we handle food that has the potential to be dangerous can only have a positive effect on our health.
Food safety standards -- especially in this country! -- are far from perfect. So if this study results in us being a little more careful around raw poultry, then how is that a bad thing?
The good news is that the campylobacter bacteria can be dealt with through thorough cooking and hand washing: Therefore, it's recommended that chicken eaters should wash their hands after touching the meat -- and the packaging! -- and make sure it’s properly cooked.
And, for goodness sake, be careful where you put that bird!
Are you grossed out at the thought of bacteria on the outside of your raw chicken packages?
Image via doggybytes/Flickr