Washing whole chicken before cooking increases the risk of food poisoning, a new research has warned.
The study has revealed that an estimated three-quarters of consumers who buy whole chickens wash them, potentially spreading bacteria on to work surfaces for up to a 3ft radius.
According to figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), 65 per cent of raw shop-bought chicken is contaminated with campylobacter, the most common identified cause of food poisoning in the UK, with symptoms including diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
Although cooking chicken properly will kill the bug, it is responsible for more than 300,000 cases of food poisoning and 15,000 hospitalisations a year in England and Wales alone.
However, the study found that 56 per cent of people thought salmonella was the biggest cause of food poisoning, with just 2 per cent naming campylobacter.
"Tap water won't get rid of the germs that cause food poisoning. By washing your raw bird, you're actually more likely to spread the germs around the kitchen," the Scotsman quoted an FSA spokeswoman as saying.