Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched a summer “Pink Chicken” food safety campaign to draw consumers’ attention to the need to cook chicken items properly, especially when barbecuing.
FSS said the campaign is in response to “evidence” which shows that increases in barbecuing and chicken purchase and consumption during June, July and August coincide with peaks in Campylobacter infection.
The organisation also said there were more than 6,000 reported Campylobacter cases in Scotland each year and that research has shown that 60-80% of Campylobacter infections in Scotland can be attributed to a chicken source.
“Nothing spoils summer like food poisoning and our latest campaign highlights some simple steps everyone can take to reduce the risk of becoming ill through eating chicken that hasn’t been prepared or cooked properly,” said FSS’s head of foodborne disease, Dr Jacqui McElhiney, adding that consumers should always make sure there’s no pink meat, that the juices run clear and that the product is cooked to 75°C.
FSS chief executive, Geoff Ogle, said that food poisoning can be contracted through chicken which is not properly cooked, contact between raw meats and ready to eat foods, or poor hygiene.
“We want people to enjoy themselves,” he said. “So when they’re getting together and having barbecues, it’s important to make sure that they’re not ruining summer for themselves and others by coming down with food poisoning which is easily preventable. That’s why we’ve created the Pink Chicken campaign; to ensure we minimise the risks of a spoilt summer.”