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Chicken Safe To Eat

by 5m Editor
10 May 2006, at 12:00am

UK - A new review of the chicken food chain on the island of Ireland reveals a highly regulated industry, adhering to rigorous international standards. However, consumers still need to ensure that chicken is cooked and handled properly to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Chicken safe to eat - UK - A new review of the chicken food chain on the island of Ireland reveals a highly regulated industry, adhering to rigorous international standards. However, consumers still need to ensure that chicken is cooked and handled properly to avoid foodborne illnesses.

The review - the first in a series – was undertaken by safefood, the Food Safety Promotion Board in response to consumers’ concerns about chicken.

Martin Higgins, Chief Executive, safefood explains: “Chicken is the main protein source for many consumers on the island of Ireland and in our research, over 40% of consumers indicated that chicken was the food they were most concerned about in terms of how it is produced, packaged, sold and handled at home. Given all these factors, chicken was the obvious place to begin our series of food chain reviews.”

The review concludes that, when handled properly, chicken is a safe and nutritious food. Given the possible presence of bacteria such as Campylobacter on raw chicken, consumers need to store and handle chicken appropriately and cook it thoroughly to avoid potential foodborne illness. Consumers are also advised not to rinse chicken or other poultry to avoid cross-contamination, to other foods and preparation surfaces.

While safefood highlights the vital role of the consumer in the food chain, it also calls on the industry to continue to make every effort to minimize the risk of bacteria such as Campylobacter, as well as to work with regulatory bodies to address this and other consumer concerns.

The review also found that more than 70% of the chicken meat used in the catering industry is sourced from outside the island of Ireland, or the European Union. According to safefood research, consumers regard country of origin as a key determinant in their purchase choice. Furthermore, safefood research found that consumers prefer chicken from the island of Ireland and would like to see information about the poultry producer clearly labeled.

“Currently, the labeling legislation does not apply to the catering stage of the food chain. Where country of origin is an important deciding factor for consumers, these findings further compound the need for a mechanism to communicate this information to consumers, allowing them to make better informed choices”, said Martin Higgins.

safefood’s review was undertaken in conjunction with an advisory group drawn from across the chicken industry and scientists across the island of Ireland. The final review document is now being circulated to all those involved in the industry.

A Review of the Chicken Food Chain

To read Safefood's latest article, please click here

Source: Safefood - 9th May 2006

5m Editor