With the changing season and our not so healthy eating habits – food poisoning has become a common issue.

US-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) constantly tracks the outbreaks and identifies what causes food poisoning and how to keep people safe. Here’s the data.

The data

The CDC’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS) collected data on Foodborne illness outbreaks between 2009 and 2015. There were a total of 5,760 outbreaks reported, which resulted in almost 1,00,000 illnesses.

What caused food poisoning?

The food category that was responsible for most outbreaks was chicken. Yes, your favourite chicken. According to the data, chicken was responsible for 3,114 outbreak-related illnesses or 12 per cent of all food poisoning cases.

Though chicken is nutritious and a healthy source of protein but yes it’s also the reason behind most food poisoning cases. Because chicken is consumed in so many varieties, there is a greater chance of cross-contamination between the raw and undercooked chicken.

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How to protect yourself?

It’s important to make sure that chicken is handled safely and cooked properly because undercooked chicken has illness-causing bacteria (salmonella). The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following recommendations for healthy preparation of chicken.

Tips

– Before putting the chicken in your shopping cart, place it in a plastic bag so that the raw juices do not contaminate the other foods.

– Wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after washing the chicken.

– Do not wash the raw chicken in your sink (Here’s why).

– Use a separate cutting board for cutting chicken.

– Never put any cooked food or any other eatables on the cutting board or any other utensil in which you have kept chicken.

– Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot and soapy water.

– Cook chicken at 165 F.

– Refrigerate the leftover chicken within two hours after cooking.

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