FSS have issued precautionary advice on cooking processed chicken products following a link to UK cases of salmonella

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Public Health Scotland (PHS) are reminding consumers to take care when handling and cooking chicken products at home.  

The move comes as both organisations are involved in a multi-agency investigation into a suspected rise in cases of salmonella linked to processed chicken products, which has resulted in two UK product recalls.

Since January 2020, there have been 390 cases of Salmonellosis across the UK, caused by two strains of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to frozen, raw, breaded chicken products – 32 of which have been confirmed in Scotland.

FSS advice is that people do not need to make changes to the food they purchase, but they should always follow good hygiene practices to help reduce the risk of food poisoning when preparing items including chicken nuggets, goujons, dippers, poppers and kievs.

FSS Deputy Chief Executive, Ian McWatt, said:

“While the numbers of cases in Scotland related to this outbreak are relatively low, we felt it important to remind people that they should always check and follow the cooking instructions on food packaging, as different brands of the same product may have different preparation processes.  Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will generally ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.”

Top food hygiene tips include:

·       Always carefully check the advice on food packaging and following the cooking instructions provided

·       If the packaging advises the product should be thawed/defrosted before cooking, follow the instructions

·       Consume or freeze food by its use-by date

·       Wash your hands after touching raw chicken products and before you handle ready-to-eat food

·       Avoid cross-contamination by cleaning any surface, plate or utensil that has been in contact with raw meat

Salmonella is a common bacteria that can cause food poisoning, which can make people ill for up to three weeks.  Salmonella is found in raw meat, undercooked poultry and unpasteurised milk.  Inadequate cooking and cross-contamination in the kitchen during food preparation can lead to salmonella causing diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and stomach pains.

However, the amount of food poisoning that occurs in comparison to the amount of processed chicken eaten is very small.

Young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming severely ill with food poisoning caused by salmonella.

·       Read the FSS guidance on salmonella

·       Symptoms and treatment of salmonella – information from the NHS

The following recalls are potentially linked to this salmonella outbreak:

·       Aldi recalls Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken and Roosters Breaded Poppin' Chicken because of the possible presence of salmonella

·       Iceland recalls Chip Shop Curry Chicken Breast Toppers and Southern Fried Chicken Popsters because of the presence of salmonella