This week is Food Safety Week (May 18 - 24) and North Lincolnshire Council is supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to help half the number of cases of campylobacter food poisoning.
Last year in the UK, there were 280,000 cases of campylobacter food poisoning and 100 deaths (according to the FSA).
Now, the council is inviting people to take part in the chicken challenge, aptly named as this particular type of food poisoning usually comes from handling raw chickens.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it but, if it affects you, you won’t forget it.
Chicken is a very popular food, with almost 73 per cent of us eating chicken every week, and about four in five cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry.
Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and leads to symptoms that include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and, sometimes, vomiting.
It can affect you forever, sparking off irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reactive arthritis and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barre syndrome – a serious condition of the nervous system. At its worst, it can kill.
Sarah Smith, Environmental Health Officer at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Food poisoning is unpleasant and can lead to illness and even death in severe cases.
“With the summer just around the corner and people thinking of having BBQs, it is all the more important that we understand the importance of food safety and the need to wash and dry your hands properly after handling meat and the need to keep cooked and raw meat separate and much more.
“These are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent food poisoning, but many people are unaware of the dangers and health risks they are putting themselves and their loved ones in.
“Why not take advantage during Food Safety Week next week to ensure that you are fully aware of what you need to know when handling meat and take the chicken challenge?”
And to help raise awareness, the food safety team will also be talking to 540 pupils from 10 local schools from June 8 to explain the importance of food safety and washing and drying hands properly.
Goody bags and key information will be given out. The team will also be running a competition for children to win prizes.
For more details about the chicken challenge, visit www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge.