Shoppers are being warned to wash their hands after picking up chicken wrapped in plastic to avoid getting tummy bugs.
A survey carried out by food safety health officials in Birmingham found that 40% of the chicken portions they examined were contaminated on the outside of the packaging.
The health officers found evidence of campylobacter which can cause sickness, diarrhoea and stomach pain.
It’s believed this is the first team to test the outside of chicken packaging and the results are now being reported to the Food Standards Agency.
It’s thought the contamination takes place during the manufacturing and shipping. However, once the packaging is picked up in the supermarket, the bugs can then be transferred to trolley handles, shopping bags and customers’ mouths.
So always remember to wash your hands whenever you handle packages of meat, even if they’re sealed.
“Our message to consumers is that handling the packaging should be regarded as just as likely to cause food poisoning as handling the raw meat,” explained health official Nick Lowe.