Chef Ray McVinnie has some advice for Kiwis on how to prepare and cook chicken.
Put chicken in a separate, leakproof bag at the supermarket. Store, covered, at the bottom of the fridge, well-separated from other foods.
Be aware that raw chicken, and especially the juices, may contaminate anything they touch. Do not wash the chicken.
Wash everything after preparation – benches, knives, boards, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Sterilise any dish cloth you use.
Use different utensils and boards for preparing raw and cooked meats.
Cook it thoroughly, which means the juices should run clear.
Stick a knife or skewer deep into the thigh joint.
If the chicken has been frozen, make sure it is completely thawed so it cooks evenly. Defrost in your fridge overnight.
Campylobacter infections spike in summer, probably because of the increase in barbecue cooking.
Barbecue chefs: the same rules apply. Keep the raw chicken separate from other meats and food and don’t use the same tongs to turn the chicken and the sausages. will continue to work with government, industry, and colleagues here and overseas, to monitor and reduce contamination levels. We’re also keeping a close watch on the evolution of this persistent bacterium and the resistance of some to antibiotics. For more information, visit mpi.govt.nz/ food-safety/food-safety-forconsumers/tips-for-food-safety/
Professor Nigel French is director of the NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre and Glenda Lewis is a communications adviser to the centre.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of campylobacter infections among OECD countries and much of this is food-borne.