News & Updates

On World Food Safety Day, Food Standards Scotland highlights food poisoning risk from undercooked chicken

On the first ever World Food Safety Day (7 June 2019), Food Standards Scotland (FSS) is reminding Scots they can avoid picking up food poisoning at home by thoroughly cooking chicken and following good hygiene when handling raw poultry.  Raw chicken can be contaminated with campylobacter, which is responsible for an estimated 54,000 cases of illness each year in Scotland.

Research by FSS and HPS has shown that of the approximately 6,000 reported cases of campylobacter in Scotland each year around 14% require hospital treatment.

As the summer barbecue season kicks into action, FSS figures also show that 14% of people in Scotland would eat chicken that was pink or had red juices, despite this putting them at high risk of food poisoning from campylobacter, a food poisoning bacteria which can be killed by thorough cooking.

Dr Jacqui McElhiney, Head of Food Protection Science at Food Standards Scotland, said:

“Food Standards Scotland is supporting the first World Food Safety Day which aims to raise awareness of the risks of food poisoning, and the ways people can avoid it. Our latest research shows that there’s a real need in Scotland for everyone who cooks for themselves and other people to make sure they’re following good food safety practices.

“Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland and cooking chicken properly is very important to make sure you don’t get this really nasty type of food poisoning. If you’re barbecuing chicken you should ensure there’s no pink meat and the juices run clear. To be totally sure, we’d recommend always checking it’s cooked to 75°C by using a food thermometer, as that’s the temperature that’s needed to kill any food poisoning bacteria that may be present.

“Campylobacter can give you much more than an upset stomach. It can be really serious - especially for the very young, older people and people with existing health conditions.”

World Food Safety Day is an initiative from the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the United Nations General Assembly aimed at highlighting the need to improve food safety to help reduce its impact on public health.

Find out more about campylobacter and the main pathogens that cause illness to the public in Scotland.