The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published the final report of its year-long survey of Campylobacter levels on UK fresh shop-bought chickens.

The report is an analysis of the data from the survey carried out by the FSA between February 2014 and March 2015, which showed the levels of Campylobacter found on fresh, whole chickens sold in the UK.

The results for the full year, as previously published, showed:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter
  • 0.1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination.
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

* more than 1000 colony forming units per gram (>1000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

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

‘The FSA’s retail survey has been an important part of our work to tackle Campylobacter. Thanks to the focus the survey has put on the industry, retailers and processers are starting to invest in new interventions to tackle the bug. Our new retail survey, which is already underway, will allow us to track progress and give us an indication of where these interventions are delivering results.’

The FSA has welcomed case studies by Marks & Spencer, the Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi and Iceland showing the results of their campylobacter reduction plans. Their data showed significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens. The tests were carried out on samples taken later than those from the FSA survey, with some targeted to demonstrate the effect of particular interventions.

The first set of results from the new FSA survey that commenced in July 2015, is expected to be published in November 2015.

Acting on Campylobacter Together

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won’t forget it. A common cause of campylobacter poisoning is cross-contamination from raw poultry. We’re working with the industry to tackle levels of campylobacter in poultry, but there are simple things you can do to stay safe.

For more information on the Authenticate platform or to discuss your challenges and requirements, get in touch with the team.