FOOD experts from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have warned residents not to wash raw chicken to prevent food poisoning, as part of National Food Safety Week.

The warning, in a bid to combat Campylobacter, comes as it has been revealed that four in five cases of Campylobacter poisoning in the UK comes from contaminated poultry.

One of the main ways to spread the bacteria is through not handling raw chicken correctly.

The Food Standards Agency advises people not to wash raw chicken as this can result in germs being spread, by splashed water to kitchen surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.

Campylobacter poisoning usually develops a few days after eating contaminated food and symptoms can include abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

Symptoms can last between two and 10 days and can be particularly severe in small children and the elderly.

In some cases, it can trigger longer lasting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and in rare cases, Guillian-Barre syndrome – a serious and sometimes permanent condition of the nervous system.

Cabinet member for community services and the environment, Councillor Hayley Eachus said: “It’s important for residents to be aware of how to prepare food in the best possible way to avoid illness, in particular those who are more vulnerable.

“I hope that with Food Safety Week starting this week it will prompt people to remember to handle and cook chicken carefully and enjoy it safely.”

For more advice on food safety, contact the borough council’s food and safety team on 01256 844844 or visit