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What to do with the chicken in the kitchen? A lack of kitchen hygiene can make you sick

26/2014, 10.10.2014

A BfR film advices consumers about kitchen hygiene

A lack of hygiene when handling food is an important cause of food-borne illness outbreaks. For this reason, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published a two-minute web film (in English and German) on the subject entitled "What to do with the chicken?" "Data on cases of illness show that we must provide more information even to young people on how to handle food correctly", says BfR President Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "In order to reach this target group, the BfR has made a video clip about the important topic of cross-contamination, i.e. the transfer of germs from one, usually raw, food to ready-to-eat foods."

For protection against food-borne infections, the BfR recommends that raw animal-derived foods are well cooked before they are eaten. In this way, contamination of any existing pathogens to ready-to-eat foods is avoided. For this reason, any contact between the raw and ready-to-eat foods must be avoided both during food storage and preparation. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands and kitchen utensils such as knives and chopping boards with warm water and then dry them immediately after they have come into contact with raw animal-derived foods. The new  BfR video "What to do with the chicken?" illustrates these tips in an entertaining way. Using the example of fresh chicken meat, it shows how cross-contamination can occur. The video can be accessed at

Campylobacter and salmonella are the most common bacteria causing food-borne infections. Infection with these bacteria can be contracted from poultry meat that was not cooked sufficiently or which came into contact with other foods prior to being cooked. A study conducted in Germany in 2011 showed that a total of 31.6 % of the tested samples of chicken meat was contaminated with campylobacter and 6.3 % with salmonella.

Consumers can find further information on how to protect themselves from food-borne infections in private households on the BfR website.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.


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