Salmonella brother is on the rise: watch out with raw chicken

“Most of the campylobacter infections are caused by raw chicken,” says Wieke van der Vossen, food safety expert at the Netherlands Nutrition Center.

“The bacteria can also be found in pork and beef. You can see a peak in the summer months, possibly due to the barbecue season.”

Brother of salmonella

Although the bacteria is called the ‘unknown stepbrother of salmonella’, more people became ill from campylobacter than from salmonella in 2018. “It is not only a more difficult word, but also more difficult to combat”, says Van der Vossen. “For example, eggs and chickens are vaccinated against salmonella before slaughter, but this is not possible against campylobacter.”

Those who contract the bacteria can become very ill. “You can be very unwell. You will suffer from diarrhea and vomiting for a number of days. In exceptional cases it can also affect your nervous system or lead to death – these are usually elderly people who are dehydrated by the diarrhea.”

Hygiene and temperature

So be careful with the preparation of raw meat, because that is where things often go wrong, according to the Nutrition Center. But how do you do that? “It starts with good basic hygiene”, says world champion barbecuing Jord Althuizen of caterer Smokey Goodness. “Wash your hands before you start and make sure you have clean work materials, cutting boards and knives.”

It is also important that you keep meat at a good temperature. “With chicken it is below four degrees. That often goes wrong with the marinade. When the weather is nice you are in the garden preparing the marinade. Do not immediately remove the chicken from the refrigerator, but only when you start marinating, and put then immediately put it back in the refrigerator. “

Well cooked on the inside

“If you are going to grill the chicken, use different tongs for the raw and the cooked chicken. Otherwise the bacteria will spread on the cooked chicken,” continues Jord. “When cooking the chicken, make sure that the meat is well cooked on the inside. Chicken must be heated at least 65 degrees on the inside, and that takes time.”

Jord also often sees things go wrong with the leftovers. “People sit at the table in the sun and only after a few hours do they put the remaining pieces of meat back in the refrigerator. That creates unnecessary risks. Put that meat back in the refrigerator immediately.”

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