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8th September 2014  Content supplied by: Food Standards Agency, UK

Campylobacter Chicken Survey - Retailers to be Named and Shamed

The UK Food Standards Agency will be publishing the quarterly results from its survey of campylobacter on shop-bought chicken. The FSA will name retailers, alongside campylobacter levels, when it releases its next set of results in November.

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, said:

'Tackling Campylobacter is the FSA’s top priority in the fight against food poisoning and we want people to have the clearest possible information on the food they buy. We have set a clear expectation for poultry producers and retailers to take action to reduce levels of campylobacter in chicken.

'We published details about levels of campylobacter found in shop-bought chickens earlier this year, but chose not to name retailers because the data was not robust enough. Since then, double the number of samples have been collected, which better reflects the situation across the country.'

The 12-month survey is running from February 2014 to February 2015 and is looking at the prevalence and levels of Campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chilled chickens and their packaging. The results will enable the FSA to determine if changes in practice across the poultry supply chain are reflected in a reduction of contamination at retail.

Researchers are testing 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers.

The first set of quarterly data was released on 5 August 2014 (when 59% of birds tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter and 4% of samples had Campylobacter on the outside of the packaging). In a Chief Executive’s report published today the FSA has confirmed its plans to publish further quarterly results in November 2014, February 2015, April 2015 and a final report of the whole survey in July 2015. All of the future quarterly publications will name the major retailers against their summary sample results.

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Date Published: 8th September 2014

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