Chicken is a healthy meat that has a high amount of protein and low amount of fat. Many nutritionists recommend chicken white meat as a valued component of a healthy diet. I prepare and eat chicken breast once or twice each week, so I want to be sure that I am doing so safely. I am especially interested in knowing how to properly clean kitchen surfaces after preparing chicken.
Per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), improperly handled or stored raw poultry can produce Salmonella bacteria -- an important cause of human illness in the United States. Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, 450 deaths, and an estimated-$365 million in direct medical costs in the United States. About 100,000 illnesses per year are attributed to drug-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment.
FoodSafety.gov reports that adults 65 and older are at a higher risk for hospitalization and death from foodborne illness. This increased risk of foodborne illness is because our organs and body systems go through changes as we age, holding onto food longer and not always properly ridding bodies of foreign bacteria and toxins.
CDC and the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend that consumers follow these food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from raw poultry:
As for cleaning chicken juice from surfaces, the CDC and USDA recommend that you sanitize food contact surfaces with a freshly made solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water.
Per “Sanitizing Techniques in the Kitchen: On Handling Meat and the Bleach Debate” at kitchn.com, if you prefer a bleach alternative, spritz your cutting boards and utensils first with vinegar, then follow with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then rinse.
Preventing food poisoning goes hand-in-hand with fall prevention. Both simply require that you take time and effort to ensure that you have prepared your environment to be safe for you, your family and all who visit (and eat chicken!) in your home.