HALTON Council is warning residents not to wash raw chicken as food safety week starts tomorrow.

They say campylobacter is the most common type of food poisoning and could effect 750,000 people in the UK this year.

You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. At its worst, it can be fatal, warn environmental health officers as they offer advice on avoiding the bacteria.

Bob Martin, head of foodborne disease strategy at the Food Standards Agency said: "This is a serious problem and we are calling on the whole industry to do act together to tackle Campylobacter.

"People in Halton can do their part by handling and preparing chicken with extra care. Don’t wash raw chicken, cook it properly and enjoy it safely."

The Food Standards Agency is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem.

Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry.

Consumers will be able see the latest data and be the judges of any progress, or lack of progress, that they make.

Local authorities, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe. Advice is available at food.gov.uk/chicken.

Halton Clr Marie Wright, board member for wellbeing, said: "It’s important that we do our part to make sure that people know to handle and cook food safely for themselves and for their families.

"We’re proud to be keeping people in Halton safe and well by being part of this campaign to spread the word and not the germs."

Food safety week runs from June 16 to 22.