FSA survey reveals campylobacter found in 73% of chickens

FSA survey reveals campylobacter found in 73% of chickens

The overall incidence of campylobacter in whole chicken stands at 73%, with contamination in the highest category (>1,000 cfu/g campylobacter) being at 19.4%, a study by the Food Standards Agency has revealed.

The results follow the FSA’s year-long retail survey of campylobacter in whole chicken, which tested more than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers.

Asda was shown to have the highest incidence of campylobacter (80.4%), whilst 66.5% of Tesco chickens were tested positive for the bug, the lowest of all the retailers. Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-op and Waitrose all showed significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens, as a result of their recently implemented campylobacter reduction plans.

Steve Wearne, FSA director of policy, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the really encouraging results from these four supermarkets and their suppliers. They are making a real difference to public health, helping to cut down on the estimated 280,000 people who get ill from campylobacter each year.”

Richard MacDonald, chair of the Acting on Campylobacter Together board, said: “I have been impressed by the level of commitment and tangible action being taken by a number of retailers and processors of chicken. I hope we continue to see further progress in our fight to significantly reduce or even eradicate campylobacter on chickens. Individual actions and cross-industry sharing of best practice are starting to have a real and tangible impact.”

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