Shop-bought chicken bug levels ‘hold steady’

The top nine retailers across the UK have published their latest testing results on campylobacter contamination in UK-produced fresh whole chickens (covering samples tested from April to June 2018).

The latest figures show that on average, across the major retailers, 3.7 per cent of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination; these are the chickens carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of campylobacter.

The corresponding figure for the previous set of results (Jan-March 2018) was 3.8 per cent, while for the first publication (July-September 2017) it was 4.6 per cent.

“These latest figures are consistent with previous results and show consolidation on the progress made so far in our mission to reduce campylobacter levels to as low as reasonably achievable,” says Michael Wight, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency. “Evidence has shown that campylobacter tends to be more prevalent during warmer times of the year; so, to have seen the results holding steady during this period is encouraging.”

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