October 19, 2019

Poor Hygiene A Factor In Rise Of Campylobacter Cases in UK

Researchers believe cross contamination by home cooks has played a role in the increase of Campylobacter cases in the U.K.

Campylobacter in a petri dishCross contamination can occurs when bacteria from place gets spread to another. For example, cleaning up the spilled juices from raw chicken and using the same dishcloth to later wipe down all of the countertops.

“Studies have found Campylobacter on domestic dishcloths, which is symptomatic of what is happening in the kitchen. We tend to take things for granted and can be a bit sloppy when it comes to food hygiene at home,” Dr Meirion Evans, a regional epidemiologist at Public Health Wales, said.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of foodborne illness in England and Wales, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Two strains, Campylobacter jejnuni and Campylobacter coli, account for the bulk of illnesses. HPA data show that Campylobacter cases increased from 1989 to 2000, declined between 2000 and 2004 and have been on the rise since 2004. In 2010, there were 700,00 confirmed case of Campylobacter in the U.K.

To reduce the risk of cross contamination, experts advise:

  • Wash hands with warm soapy water before you begin meal preparation and after handling raw meat, poultry or fish.
  • Do not wash chickens before cooking. Washing raw meat will just spread bacteria around the kitchen.
  • Disinfect sponges every day. You can microwave sponges that don’t contain metal by wetting them, then microwaving on high for two minutes. The sponge will be hot; use care when removing it from the microwave. You can also put sponges in the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Separate raw meat from foods that will be be eaten raw, such as salad greens.
  • Wash prep surfaces including knives, cutting boards, utensils after each use with hot soapy water.
  • Wash kitchen dishcloths and towels frequently.


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