Enfield Borough Council is telling diners not to wash their chicken before cooking it.

As part of Food Safety Week, the council’s environmental health team is warning residents how to avoid the bacteria campylobacter.

The common food poisoning bug, which is found in raw chicken, is easily spread onto other food, skin and equipment when washing the meat uncooked, and can lead to serious illness.

Washing used utensils thoroughly and making sure the meat is steaming hot all the way through before serving will protect against the bacteria spreading.

Enfield Council’s cabinet member for environment Councillor Chris Bond said: “There is absolutely no point washing raw chicken before its cooked and it actually does more harm than good because cooking chicken properly will kill all the germs present in the bird.

“Washing chicken could splash germs on to the sink, worktop, dishes or anything else nearby and contaminate them.

“Residents should be particularly careful to keep raw food away from ready-to-eat foods such as bread, salad and fruit. Because these foods aren't cooked before you eat them any germs that are spread on to them won't be killed and end up going straight down your throat.”