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Latest Campylobacter Figures Show Some Reason for Optimism

November 20, 2015

The latest figures released by the Food Standards Agency show that 15% of chickens in their recent sampling round were found to be contaminated with levels of campylobacter above 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g). The results show a decrease of 7% over the same period in 2014.

The FSA looked at 1,032 samples in July, August and September, finding contamination by campylobacter in 76%, while approximately 6% of packaging was contaminated. Results still fall short of the industry target, which looked to reduce the number of heavily contaminated birds in UK poultry houses to 10% by the end of this year.

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, said, “It is good to see that some retailers are getting to grips with campylobacter. However, we want to see all of them pulling together to achieve real and lasting reductions. I am also pleased that we are starting to see retailers and processors being open with consumers about what they are doing to tackle the problem and about the impact their interventions are having on the chickens they are selling.”

There is still a considerable difference between retailers with the Co-op and Waitrose having made the most significant progress. The FSA’s sampling programme started in February 2014 as a reaction to the fact that campylobacter is now the most common form of foodborne illness, with an estimated 280,000 cases every year.

You can see the full FSA report HERE.