The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the cumulative results from the first two quarters of its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Tackling campylobacter is the FSA’s number one food safety priority and it is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem.
Individual results by major retailer have also been published.
The results to date show:
18% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter above the highest level of contamination*
70% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
6% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter with only one sample at the highest level of contamination (>1,000 cfu/g)
* Above 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.
In total, 1,995 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens have now been tested, with packaging also tested for most of these samples. Data show variations between retailers but none are meeting the end-of-production target for reducing campylobacter (see table below).
The overall figures show an increase in contamination from the first quarter to the second quarter. This is most likely due to the second quarter’s samples being taken during the summer months when an increase in campylobacter is often seen because of the warmer weather.
This 12-month survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, will test 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers.
Source FSA Website here