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Latest Campylobacter Figures Continue Downward Trend

June 2, 2016
Food

The latest figures from the Food Standards Agency survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens show that once again the general trend shows a decrease in contamination. From January to March 2016, the number of birds contaminated by campylobacter as well as those considered to be affected by the highest levels of contamination went down.

Fifty percent of the 1,009 samples of fresh whole chilled UK produced chickens and packaging tested positive for campylobacter, down from 71% in the previous quarter. There was also positive news in respect of chickens judged to be contaminated by the highest levels of bacteria with a sharp decrease from 21.8% in February to only 9.3%.

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, is happy with the latest developments; “These results are moving in the right direction and I am delighted with progress. It shows what can be done by a real commitment to tackle this bug and I am encouraging industry to go even further, more quickly, to continue to get the numbers down,” he said. “One of the reasons the survey results are lower this quarter is because of the decision taken by a number of retailers and their suppliers to remove neck skin from the bird before it goes on sale. This is good news for the consumer because the neck skin is the most contaminated part of the chicken.”

The survey will recommence in the summer when an alternative method of testing will be used, first results which will rank retailers are due in January 2017.

You can view the latest survey results at http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/campy-survey-report-jan-mar-2016.pdf