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Campylobacter the Focus for Food Safety Week
Educating consumers about Campylobacter is the main focus of this year’s Food Safety Week, which was launched yesterday by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Numbers of Campylobacter infections have risen consistently since 2004, with over 280,000 people in the UK now affected every year. It is now the most common form of food-borne illness in the UK.
The FSA’s Food-borne Disease Strategy estimates that 60-80% of cases can be attributed to raw chicken, and the latest campaign concentrates on the fact that over 40% of consumers have admitted to washing poultry before cooking. This is a practice that FSA chief executive Catherine Brown says can help the spread of campylobacter: “Although people tend to follow recommended practice when handling poultry, such as washing hands after touching raw chicken and making sure it is thoroughly cooked, our research has found that washing raw chicken is also common practice. That’s why we’re calling on people to stop washing raw chicken and also trying to raise awareness of the risks of contracting Campylobacter as a result of cross-contamination.”
Recent research has also shown that levels of awareness of campylobacter are below that of other forms of food-borne illness. While 90% of respondents had heard of salmonella and E.Coli, the figure for Campylobacter was just 28%. As well as aiming advice at consumers, the FSA have also asked production companies involved in TV food shows to stop celebrity chefs washing raw poultry.
You can view the FSA’s ‘Truth About Campylobacter’ YouTube video here