So why shouldn’t I wash chicken?

Well, you might think it cleans your chicken but in fact you’re doing the opposite, by spreading food poisoning bugs like Campylobacter around your kitchen. That spray can reach up to 80cm, or about an arm’s length, away from your sink. These bugs can land on anything that’s near your sink, like clean dishes drying. Or food you might eat like fruit. By cooking chicken properly, you kill all the bugs anyway, so washing chicken really doesn’t do any good. In fact, it might actually cause some harm.

But nothing’s ever happened to me? So why do it?

When it comes to washing chicken, for some people it’s just a habit – it’s something their own Mum or Dad used to do with raw chicken. For others, they don’t like the "feel" of chicken so they think washing it gets rid of that.

We know cross-contamination from raw poultry and meat is one of the main reasons for food poisoning at home. And one of the simplest ways people can protect themselves and their family is by following some basic steps when handling raw meat and poultry – don’t wash them but wash your hands and any utensils you use instead.

Who are most at risk?

Food poisoning can range from the very mild to very severe, depending on what bacteria has caused it. And while the symptoms can vary, those most at risk are children aged under 4, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying medical condition. So why take a risk when it’s so easy to avoid it by following some basic hygiene steps in the kitchen?

What is Campylobacter?

Campylobacter is a bacteria which naturally occurs in many animals and is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning on the island of Ireland - over 3,500 reported cases but the real figure is probably much higher. Poor handling or preparation of raw poultry and meat is one of the main reasons for food poisoning at home but it doesn’t have to be like that – following some basic food steps in the kitchen can protect you from food poisoning bugs like this.