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FSA Finds 73% of Chickens Still Contaminated with Campylobacter

February 26, 2015

chickenThe latest cumulative results from the Food Standards Agency’s year-long survey of campylobacter in fresh chickens show that 73% of those tested were contaminated.

The latest results are from the period between February and November 2014 and are based on over 3,000 samples taken from major retailers, smaller independent stores and butchers. While campylobacter rates were still high, levels in the highest band of contamination with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram were considerably lower at 19%.

FSA director of policy Steve Wearne said, ”Campylobacter is killed by thorough cooking, but it should not be left to consumers to manage the risk. It is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year. Poultry is the source of the majority of these cases, so the industry should be making every effort to ensure chickens are as free from campylobacter as possible before they reach customers.”

Survey results so far show that Tesco is the only major retailer with a lower incidence than the industry average of chickens contaminated at the highest level. None of the retailers involved in the study is currently achieving the joint industry target for reducing campylobacter. The full results from the study will be published in May.

You can download a copy of the latest report here