In recent times, the risks of Salmonella, in particular from eating chicken, have been discussed so much on TV most people would have thought that incidences of infection have reduced to almost zero. Sadly this is not what has happened. For people who eat chicken, the perils of getting ill or worse are far higher than they should be, and instances still occur.
Better understanding of Salmonella will help chefs reduce the dangers and avoid dangerous illness.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a type of food poisoning caused by a bacterium that lives in people, birds and other animals. For those who get salmonella, the symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, being physically sick (i.e. vomiting) and strong stomach cramp. This may begin within 12 hours after eating the infected poultry and can last up to 3 days. Most sufferers recover naturally, but in some it can be a lot worse, resulting in hospitalisation and in a few cases, even death.
Help! How Can I Avoid This?
The advice given to cooks is :
- Clean your hands and the chicken before you start. Salmonella can exist on your hands and also on the hands of anyone else how has touched the chicken. Washing thoroughly reduces the risks.
- Keep raw chicken away from anything on the kitchen counter. When preparing a chicken meal cross contamination is a major danger. To reduce the risk, do not use the same cutting utensils for raw chicken as is used for cutting vegetables. Also, use one cutting board for the chicken and another for the vegetables.
If you follow these precautions, cooking with chicken is perfectly safe and has benefits for your general health.
Assuming you are now feeling a little more upbeat about buying and cooking chicken, here are a few other things to consider to make your chicken meals more healthy and tasty.
The Benefits of Free Range
These days there are many benefits to buying ‘free-range’ chickens or even totally organic chickens. Even the high street grocery stores are beginning to sell ‘organic’ or ‘free-range’ chicken, so getting hold of it is easier than ever. This is a good thing because many of us are unhappy that the larger chicken farms are just trying to make more money and not looking out for the health and wellbeing of their poultry, or the end consumers.
The name, ‘free-range’ is usually more familiar to people seeking to have a healthier eating lifestyle – it requires the chickens to have access to the open air and be allowed to walk around and eat naturally instead of being restricted to a small pen, or stuffed into a barn with thousands of others. Free range chickens live a more pleasant and less stressful life, and this results in a taster meat, and a cleaner conscience for the consumer.
Organic chickens, which may also be ‘free range’, have the extra restriction that they are not pumped with antibiotics, hormones, herbicides or pesticides. Many people think that both Free-range and organic chickens taste better and are juicier.
Did you know that organic chicken breasts only have 10 fat calories, 110 thigh calories and a whole chicken only has 130 calories? If you are on a diet, that has to be worth knowing, right?
If you are trying to build muscle and are trying to increase protein levels, free-range chicken breasts have 22 grams, thighs have 19 grams and the whole chicken has 21 grams – all of that from a meat that is cheap and tasty!
About the Author
Mr Wakefield is an author and copywriter who offers nutritional advice for Recipes 4U, which has more than 40,000 recipes with specific recipe categories for Beef Recipes and Healthy Recipes. If you are trying to find yummy recipes to prepare at home, you are sure to find what you need at Recipes 4U.
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