Cooking Chicken - Some Basic Safety Guidelines

By: rwakefield

Over the past few years it seems 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 to have reduced to almost zero. Unhappily this is not the case. For people who eat chicken, the dangers of getting ill or heaven forbid, dying are far higher than they should be, and hospitals still treat thousands of victims every year.

Better understanding of Salmonella will help chefs eliminate the dangers and avoid illness or worse.

What Exactly is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a type of food poisoning which is caused by a nasty bacterium that exists in human beings, birds and other animals.
If you are infected with salmonella, the symptoms include feverishness, diarrhea, being physically sick (ie vomiting) and strong stomach cramp. This may start within a few hours after eating the problem food and may last up to 3 days. Normally, people recover after a few days rest, but in some, it can become worse, resulting in hospital care and in a few sad cases, even death.

Help! How Can I Avoid This?

The advice given to those who are cooking with chicken is :

* Wash your hands AND the chicken before before you start.
Salmonella can exist on your hands and also on the hands of anybody else how has touched the chicken. Washing thoroughly reduces the risks.

* Keep uncooked chicken away from anything on the kitchen counter.
When preparing a chicken meal, cross contamination is a major danger. To reduce the danger, do not use the same cutting utensils for uncooked chicken as is used for cutting vegetables. Also, use one cutting board for the chicken and another fo the vegetables.

If you follow these precautions, cooking with chicken is perfectly safe and has benefits fro 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.

Nowadays there are many benefits to buying 'free-range' chickens or even totally organic chickens. Even the high street grocery stores are starting to sell 'organic' or 'free-range' chicken, so gettiing hold of it is easier than ever. This is a good thing because many of us are now aware that the larger chicken farms are just trying to make more money and not looking out for the health and wellbeing of their chickens, 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 wander around and eat naturally instead of being confined in a small pen, or crammed into a barn with thousands of others. Free range chickens live a more pleasant and stress free life, and this results in a taster meat, and a cleaner conscience for the consumer.

Organic chickens, which can also be 'free range', have the extra restriction that they are not subjected to antibiotics, hormones, herbicides or pesticides. Many people think that both Free-range and organice chickens taste better and are juicier.

Did you know that organic chicken breasts have only 10 fat calories, 110 thigh calories and a whole chicken only has 130 calories?
If you are trying to lose weight, that has to be worth knowing, right?

If you are an athlete or body builder and are concerned about protein, 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 tastes good as well!

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Mr Wakefield works as a a writer who offers nutritionary support and food articles for Recipes 4U (, one of the greatest free recipe collections on the web. Recipes 4U has over 40,000 recipes with specific recipe categories for Salmon Recipes and Diabetic Recipes. If you are looking for yummy recipes to cook guests and loved ones, you will surely find exactly the right recipe for you at Recipes 4U.

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