Seventy-six percent of chickens tested in a recent survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) were positive for the bacterium, campylobacter, according to newly released data. This is actually slightly lower than the percentage during the same months in 2014 (83 percent).
In addition, the results from July to September 2015 shows 15% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, down from 22% in July to September 2014.
In this first quarter, 1,032 samples of fresh whole chilled UK-produced chickens and packaging have been tested. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers to include Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco.
The FSA has been testing chickens for campylobacter since February 2014 and publishing the results as part of its campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem. Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, making an estimated 280,000 people ill every year.
Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA said: ‘It is good to see that some retailers are getting to grips with campylobacter. However, we want to see all of them pulling together to achieve real and lasting reductions.
‘I am also pleased that we are starting to see retailers and processors being open with consumers about what they are doing to tackle the problem and about the impact their interventions are having on the chickens they are selling.’