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PHE Expert Claims Industry Needs to do More to Prevent Poultry Contamination

November 20, 2014
Food

chickenWith the Food Standards Agency preparing to publish the results of their latest survey on campylobacter levels in chicken being sold in UK supermarkets, PHE experts have challenged the industry to do more to prevent contamination.

Talking in The Guardian, microbiologist Dr Frieda Jorgensen said, “There are some thoughts that the way the industry is operating and the density of the industry can make it more difficult to prevent contamination of the flocks on the farm. There is no doubt that industry practice has an impact on how easily it is spread from farm to farm. Applying strict biosecurity really can help. Industry practices are sometimes inadvertently causing biosecurity breaches.”

Preliminary figures from the FSA survey are likely to show that 59% of chickens sampled were contaminated with campylobacter. Dr Jorgensen claims that freezing poultry could cut contamination levels by as much as 90%, while the use of nets to keep flies off flocks would help prevent the spread of bacteria. Both measures are yet to be introduced widely in the UK because of cost considerations. The British Poultry Council admit that in the 12 months to September 2014, tens of thousands of birds from 2,928 infected flocks may have been allowed to go on sale.