The latest food safety tests by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have yielded some pretty alarming results today.
According to a report by the FSAI, more than half of Irish-produced chickens are contaminated with a potentially lethal food-poisoning bug.
The study was carried out in response to new figures released in the UK, which showed that almost three-quarters (73%) of UK fresh whole chickens are also contaminated with the bacterium campylobacter.
Potentially life-threatening to the very young and old, campylobacter can result in vomiting and gastroenteritis, but can be killed by cooking the chicken thoroughly.
Commenting on the alarming statistics, food science specialist Dr Lisa O’Connor said: “Our percentage was lower than [the UK], at 50% for all products, but part of the reason it was lower was because some of the products didn’t have skin. That’s the more contaminated part of the chicken. The UK study looked entirely at whole chickens.”
She also urged consumers to be aware of the dangerous risks the bug poses, adding: “As scientists, we are always a bit reluctant to compare because of sample sizes and so on, but the reality for consumers is that chicken has a high level of food-poisoning organism on it.”
This just further emphasises the need to ensure that our food is always cooked to the instructed levels.