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Consumer Group Increases Pressure on Supermarkets Over Campylobacter

January 14, 2015

Consumer group Which? has written to seven major supermarkets asking them to take action to lower contamination levels and increase public awareness of Campylobacter. Recent research found that whilst 94% of those questioned were aware of salmonella only 33% had heard of the bacteria which is responsible for over 250,000 cases of food poisoning every year.

Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd told the Daily Telegraph; “Six weeks on from the revelation of scandalously high levels of campylobacter in chicken, the supermarkets still haven’t told consumers how they will tackle this potentially fatal bug. People need reassurance that supermarkets are doing everything they can to make chicken safe. The retailers must publish their plans and commit to action now.”

In a letter to Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, The Co-op, Marks and Spencer and Morrisons, campaigners have called for an ‘integrated programme of both immediate and planned interventions along the food chain.’ Suggested measures include the use of blast surface chilling to reduce bacteria levels.

In November 2014 a survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that 70% of chickens sold from major supermarkets were infected with campylobacter. Which? launched its Make Chicken Safe campaign in August last year an online petition receiving over 30,000 signatures.

The FSA Joint Working Group on Campylobacter which includes representatives from the British Poultry Council, the National Farmers Union and the British Retail Consortium has been looking at the problem since its formation in August 2009.