Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Public Health Scotland (PHS), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Public Health England (PHE) have issued a further warning on the handling and cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products such as nuggets, goujons, dippers, poppers and kievs.
The move comes as the organisations are involved in a multi-agency investigation into a suspected rise in cases over the past year of salmonella linked to processed chicken products and follows the issue of a further two product recalls on Thursday (February 18) for products linked to the ongoing UK outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis (a food poisoning bug).
An investigation is on-going into two particular strains of salmonella linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products. Health agencies on both sides of the Border have recorded an increase in cases linked to these strains of Salmonella throughout 2020 and control measures were put in place including the issue of precautionary advice to consumers by both FSS and the FSA in October.
Given the long shelf life of these products and the additional recalls, both FSS and the FSA are reminding the public again about the importance of thorough cooking and safe handling of frozen breaded chicken products.
Since January 2020, there have been 480 cases of Salmonellosis across the UK, caused by two strains of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to frozen, raw, breaded chicken products – 42 of which have been confirmed in Scotland.
FSS advice is that people should always follow good hygiene practices to help reduce the risk of food poisoning when preparing raw chicken items including nuggets, goujons, dippers, poppers and kievs.
FSS Deputy Chief Executive, Ian McWatt, said:
“While the numbers of cases in Scotland related to this outbreak remain relatively low, it is important to remind people that they should always check and follow the cooking instructions on food packaging, as different brands of the same product may have different preparation processes.
“Preparing food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will generally ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed, but people should also take care when storing and handling these types of frozen breaded chicken products to help reduce the risk of food poisoning. Ideally, these products need to be handled as other types of raw chicken”
Top food hygiene tips include:
- Always carefully check the advice on food packaging and following the cooking instructions provided
- If the packaging advises the product should be thawed/defrosted before cooking, follow the instructions
- Consume or freeze food by its use-by date
- Wash your hands after touching raw chicken products and before you handle ready-to-eat food
- Avoid cross-contamination by cleaning any surface, plate or utensil that has been in contact with raw meat
Salmonella is a common bacteria that can cause food poisoning, which can make people ill for up to three weeks. Salmonella is found in raw meat, undercooked poultry and unpasteurised milk. Inadequate cooking and cross-contamination in the kitchen during food preparation can lead to salmonellosis causing diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and stomach pains.
Young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming severely ill with food poisoning caused by salmonella. In some cases this can be very serious.
Information on the symptoms and treatment of salmonella is available on the NHS inform website.
The following recalls are linked to this Salmonella outbreak:
- SFC recalls SFC Chicken products because of the presence of Salmonella
- Vestey Foods recalls Chick Inn 32 Jumbo Chicken Nuggets because of the presence of Salmonella
- Aldi recalls Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken and Roosters Breaded Poppin' Chicken because of the possible presence of salmonella
- Iceland recalls Chip Shop Curry Chicken Breast Toppers and Southern Fried Chicken Popsters because of the presence of salmonella
- Aldi extends its recall of Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken and Roosters Breaded Poppin' Chicken because of the possible presence of salmonella
- Lidl GB recalls Red Hen Breaded Chicken Nuggets and Red Hen Southern Fried Chicken Pops because of contamination with salmonella