One of the most common causes of intestinal disorders that can affect even where hygienic conditions are excellent are campylobacter. These are microorganisms of various species present in the gastrointestinal tract of many farm animals – poultry, cattle, pigs, sheep – without causing damage. Unfortunately, the same is not true for humans: indeed, campylobacter are considered one of the main “culprits” of gastroenteritis in industrialized countries. Symptoms: stomach ache, diarrhea and fever which, in most cases, heal spontaneously.
How do you get infected? Especially by eating undercooked contaminated chicken meat. It can happen to everyone, but especially to children, and all year round, even if the incidence increases during the summer. Also because Campylobacter are among the main culprits of the unpleasant diarrhea of the traveler capable of ruining the most luxurious holiday (in this case, the infection can also come from the water).
After slaughter, it is possible for bacteria to end up on the animal’s skin. Fortunately, they are not very resistant to cold and heat, and therefore the steps in the refrigerator, in the oven or in the pot destroy them. In Italy it is easier for ingestion to occur through “cross-contamination” between foods. Basically, even if they are no longer present on roast chicken, Campylobacter may have ended up on another food or liquid, such as a marinade, which was next to the still raw chicken on the fridge shelf.
Affsa, the French food safety authority, has developed a series of hygiene tips for consumers, the easiest way to prevent gastroenteritis due to Campylobacter. Here are the recommendations:
– Avoid contact of raw poultry with other foods, during transport home after purchase and in the refrigerator: isolate the raw meat in a plastic bag before putting it in the shopping bag and place it in the bottom drawer of the fridge and store it in the bag or protected by a film to prevent the spillage of fluids and the possibility of them dripping onto other foods.
– Wash your hands and all surfaces or utensils (barbecue grill, plates, cutting boards…) before putting them in contact with raw poultry.
– Throw away or consume only after cooking the marinades that come into contact with the raw meat.