British consumer publication Which? has published research showing that washing whole chicken increases the risk of spreading campylobacter contamination for a metre around the washing location.

With whole, raw chickens the most common source of campylobacter infection in New Zealand, the results are of particular interest to local consumers as well as retailers and public health officials.

The research found that by washing the carcass, other foods risked cross contamination, as did surfaces and kitchen utensils within one metre of the washing area. While full cooking the chicken will eliminate the risk of infection from the meat, failure to disinfect kitchen areas and other food not cooked at such a high temperature maintains the risk of exposure from the original chicken source.

A spokesperson for the UK Food Standards Agency said, “Washing raw poultry is a common kitchen mistake, and it simply isn’t necessary.”

– Keith Stewart, the grill

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