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26th April 2016  Content supplied by: Food Standards Agency

FSA Suspends Campylobacter in Chicken Survey due to Sampling Problems

Meaningful monitoring requires consistent sampling methods.  The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced on the 19th of April 2016 that it has had to suspend its testing for campylobacter in retail chickens because there has been a significant change in the way that retail chickens are processed.

The part of a chicken that usually has the highest concentration of campylobacter is the neck and therefore the FSA has been taking neck skin samples for its monitoring programme.

However, many chicken processors have also realised that this is the most contaminated part and have been removing neck skin to varying degrees.  This is good news for the consumers as it reduces the possibility of food poisoning but now makes it very difficult to compare one retailer’s chickens with another.  It also makes accurate comparisons with historical data invalid.

The FSA is therefore considering new testing protocols to give more consistent indications of the levels of the bug and hopes to restart sampling in the summer of 2016.  The FSA emphasised the important of testing that has tracked the drop in contamination down from a peak in Q4 2014 of 19% of chickens tested to the latest of 11%.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poising in the UK and FSA aims to help reduce campylobacter poisoning by 100,000 every year.




Date Published: 26th April 2016

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