What is campylobacter?

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can't see it, smell it or taste it but, if it affects you, you won't forget it.
About 4 in 5 cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry

Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting. It can affect you forever, sparking off irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reactive arthritis and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system. At its worst, it can kill.

We want to halve the levels of food poisoning from campylobacter by the end of 2015. It could mean that over a hundred thousand fewer people get sick next year and that's got to be good news!

  • How can I avoid campylobacter poisoning?

To avoid the spread of campylobacter in your kitchen, follow this advice:

  1. Cover and chill raw chicken
    Cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria.
  1. Don't wash raw chicken
    Thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs around the kitchen by splashing.
  1. Wash hands and used utensils
    Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw chicken.
  1. Cook chicken thoroughly
    Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.
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