Food experts say that freezing chicken could reduce the risks of the potentially lethal Campylobacter bug – but shouldn’t the responsibility start with the poultry producers and supermarkets?
News of tackling Campylobacter levels in chicken has hit the headlines– in fact you’ll see our response on the front pages of two newspapers today.
This is because a microbiologist from Public Health England has said that freezing chickens that are found to be carrying the bacteria can reduce the level of contamination by up to 90%.
We think it’s a complete cop out to try to put responsibility on consumers to have to clean up poor practices caused earlier in the food supply chain. The Food Standards Agency (FSA), retailers and poultry producers need to make lowering Campylobacter levels a much greater priority. The poultry industry must also clean up its act and be more accountable and transparent.
Campylobacter levels per supermarket
Earlier this month we called on the FSA to publish the result of how the supermarkets performed in terms of the levels of Campylobacter in the chicken they sell. In this tweet, the FSA committed to publishing these results any day now:
@WhichCampaigns FSA’s retail survey on levels of #campylobacter in chicken will be published in the 2nd half of November.
— FoodStandardsAgency (@foodgov) November 6, 2014
We’re continuing to press the FSA for this data as we know it’s an issue you feel strongly about. Wavechange told us:
‘In the future it may be possible to overcome the problem by vaccinating chickens but in the meantime there is a lot that could be done to clean up the processing of poultry’
And Eleanor has shared her experience of contracting the bug:
‘I’ve just recovered from Campylobacter, but as a retired Biomedical Scientist I knew both the symptoms and the origin. I visited my GP, just to have the illness notified, as I waited until I was symptom free before I went. I have always been paranoid about chicken and if I could find someplace that sells polythene gloves, I would wear them when handling chicken.’
Around 60,000 people in the UK are hospitalised or in need or medical attention as a result of Campylobacter infections. Have you experienced the bug from food poisoning?
What would you like the supermarkets and food regulators to be doing to tackle the issue?