New target to tackle food bug

The Food Standards Agency, the UK poultry industry and major retailers have agreed a new target that will measure efforts to reduce levels of the food bug campylobacter in chickens.
Almost two-thirds of raw chickens sold in the UK are contaminated with campylobacter, which is estimated to cause around 80 deaths every year.
There are three categories of contamination and 27% of birds are currently in the highest category. The new target is for the industry to reduce the numbers of these most contaminated birds in UK poultry houses from 27% to 10% by 2015.
The FSA estimates that achievement of this target could mean a reduction in campylobacter food poisoning of up to 30% – some 90,000 cases per year.
“This target is challenging but achievable,” says Dr Alison Gleadle, director of food hygiene at the Food Standards Agency. “However, solutions need to be found at every stage of the food chain to stop this bug from spreading.
“The new target will underpin all of our joint work on reducing campylobacter in chicken and allow us to measure the success of these interventions. We are working closely with the food industry to make chicken as safe to eat as possible.”
Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, adds: ‘High levels of hygiene or biosecurity on UK farms have been successful in beating salmonella in chickens, but it has proved not enough against campylobacter. Additional actions are being trialled in combination on farms, in the slaughterhouse, and in the distribution chain to reduce the levels of infection. We’re confident that the outcomes of the Joint Action Plan, combined with new scientific knowledge expected from ongoing projects, will enable campylobacter in chickens to be reduced in line with this challenging target.”

Related content

Leave a reply

Food and Drink Technology