Like your chicken juicy and pink? You could be exposing yourself to nasty bugs
London - The way chicken is commonly cooked could be exposing families to nasty food-poisoning bugs, research has found.
Most of us cook it until the meat is no longer pink or until the juices run clear and are no longer bloody.
But scientists found that chicken can change colour at relatively low temperatures before dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter are killed off.
The researchers urged families to check that all surfaces of the meat are cooked as that is where most bacteria are present.
Home cooks should also check the centre of the chicken to ensure that the core meat is fibrous and not glossy.
Norwegian researchers looked at how consumers cook chicken in the UK, France, Norway, Portugal and Romania.
They found that the colour of the meat changes at 60C (140F), which is not hot enough to kill food poisoning bacteria.
Even when chicken fillets were cooked so the centre of the meat reached a temperature of 70C (158F) – sufficient to kill most bacteria – bugs survived on the surface of the meat that was not touching the pan.
Study author Dr Solveig Langsrud said: "Consumers are advised to use a thermometer or check that the juices run clear to make sure that the chicken is cooked safely. We were surprised to find that these recommendations are not safe and not based on scientific evidence."
Young people – particularly men aged between 16 and 30 – were most likely to judge chicken as cooked by looking at the surface rather than checking its juices or temperature.
The researchers surveyed 4 000 households. They found that many consumers prioritised the "juiciness of chicken" rather than safety concerns.
The team, whose findings were published in the journal PLOS One, suggest that updated recommendations on cooking chicken should be issued.
They recommend focusing on the colour and texture of the thickest part of the meat, as well as ensuring that all surfaces reach sufficient temperatures, for example by searing the skin of the chicken before roasting.Daily Mail