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Take the Chicken Challenge this Food Safety Week

This Food Safety Week (18-24 May), Waltham Forest Council’s Food and Safety Team, in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), are challenging residents to take the Chicken Challenge.

The humble chicken is one of our favourite foods, being both healthy and versatile – not to mention tasty! Whether it brings us together around the table for Sunday lunch, or around the barbecue on sunny afternoons – of which we are all looking forward to many more to come over the summer.

But while we love the meat – and a recent FSA poll showed that almost three quarters (73%) of us eat chicken every week – there are almost 280,000 cases of food poisoning a year that can be traced to Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a germ found mostly on raw chicken. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, Campylobacter can kill or paralyse you.

The food poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting. In some cases the affects can have lasting impacts, for example irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barré syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “Our Food and Safety Team work hard all year round to make sure food outlets in the borough follow the correct procedures when it comes to hygiene.

“This Food Safety Week we’re urging you to do the same in your homes by taking the Chicken Challenge. The aim is to cut the number of cases of Campylobacter poisoning in half by the end of 2015. It could mean that over a hundred thousand fewer people would get sick next year if everyone does their bit, so we’re urging all Waltham Forest residents to get involved.”

Pledge to take the Chicken Challenge by taking the following steps. Bag and store raw chicken separately from other food, covered and chilled on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Don’t wash raw chicken as it splashes germs. Wash everything that’s touched raw chicken in soap and hot water – your hands and utensils. And check chicken is cooked properly so that it is steaming hot, with no pink meat and juices that run clear.

You can sign up to take the pledge by visiting There’s even the opportunity to win some amazing prizes as part of the deal, so why not take the Chicken Challenge today?

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