I read in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that there’s been a seven-fold increase, over the last twenty years, in the number of children hospitalized with intestinal ailments caused by campylobacter, a bacterium commonly found in raw poultry. More than half the children admitted to the hospital for intestinal problems tested positive for the bacterium.
The newspaper (print, Hebrew version) reviewed safe methods for handling raw chicken:
- Buy fresh, refrigerated chicken.
- If you do buy frozen, be sure it has been handled properly. Patches of ice on the sign indicate chicken that may have been defrosted and refrozen.
- Defrost on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, to prevent contamination of other foods. [Placing the tray on newspaper or a plate will contain drips.]
- Use utensils that set aside for raw meat.
- Before cooking, wash the utensils and your hands. If you have open cuts, wear gloves.
- Raw chicken breast can remain in the refrigerator for two days before cooking.
- After cooking, chicken can be stored for two to three days.
- For cleaning surfaces in the kitchen, a paper towel is recommended.
I’ll have to think about that last one, as I use rags. Even if I don’t wash the rag in hot water, I doubt the bacterium would survive until the next use.
According to this article, the number of cases of campylobacter infection has decreased in the U.S. The article blamed the high number of Israeli cases on shnitzel, the fried chicken breasts that are a lunch staple.