BAD HABIT: One in five people admit to washing raw chicken – a dangerous food practice.
BAD HABIT: One in five people admit to washing raw chicken – a dangerous food practice. Funlif

Overestimation of safe food practices is making us sick

FOOD poisoning is on the rise, with an increase in cases in the Warwick region in the past year.

Queensland Health has issued a warning to residents after alarming statistics revealed only 1% of people know eggs should never be washed before cooking and only 21% of people know washing uncooked chicken is a health risk.

Health figures showed about 368 people have presented with food poisoning within the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service so far this year.

This was 100 more cases than the previous year.

These figures were based on the number of cases of campylobacter - the most common cause of food poisoning in Australia.

Queensland Health protection executive director Sophie Dwyer said the research showed 75% of people thought they understood safe food practices.

But she said people overestimated their knowledge of basic food hygiene and were suffering because of it.

"They're telling us that it's commonsense - but when questioned, only 1% of the 1563 people surveyed knew that eggs should never be washed before cooking," Ms Dwyer said.

"That's because washing them makes it easier for any bacteria to get inside the egg from the shell."

She also said one in five people admitted to washing chicken before cooking it.

"That's alarming because washing raw chicken can spread campylobacter via splashing water."

Food poisoning

 368 cases so far in Darling Downs for 2015

 75% people believe they understand safe food practices

 1% of people surveyed knew eggs should not be washed before cooking

 21% knew washing uncooked chicken was a health risk

 The danger zone for food is 5-60 degrees. Bacteria grow quickly at these temperatures

 Food safety guidelines recommend consuming food soon after it is taken out of the fridge



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