Campylobacter – Share the responsibility not the bug
The FSA has recently launched the ‘Farm to Fork’ campaign in order to bring together chicken producers, processors, caterers, retailers and consumers alike with the aim to reduce levels of Campylobacter.
Tackling campylobacter is a critical priority for the poultry industry and along with a large influential list of signatories they have committed to sharing all information that could help make a difference while investing as much time and effort that is required to delivering a future in which campylobacter in poultry is no longer a threat to human health.
What is Campylobacter?
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. Previous estimates have indicated that campylobacter causes more than 100 deaths a year, and costs the UK economy about £900 million. It’s an unacceptably high public health burden, and the main responsibility for addressing this rests with the food industry.
What can we do to prevent it?
To tackle this, and reduce contamination on UK-produced chickens, the whole food chain needs to play its part.
Farmers and producers
To reduce the number of flocks of broilers (chickens grown for meat) that contain campylobacter when they are presented for slaughter
Slaughterhouses and processors
To make sure that the processes they use keep levels of contamination in the birds they produce to a minimum
To make sure that they and their staff are aware of the risks from raw poultry and work harder to avoid cross-contamination during handling or from under-cooking
Local government partners
To help raise awareness of campylobacter and ensure that food businesses using chilled poultry meat are aware of the risks and keeping to the highest standards of hygiene
Retailers and supermarkets
To play their role by advising their customers not to wash raw chicken and to cook it thoroughly.
To reflect on whether the way that they handle food in their homes risks food poisoning for themselves and their families
In 2015, the FSA will publish a statistical analysis of the first full-year survey. The information published for each sample will include details about where the chicken was bought, the abattoir that processed it, whether or not the sample contained campylobacter and if so, how heavily it was contaminated.
Around four in five cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK can be traced back to poultry meat contaminated with the bacterium. To tackle this, and reduce contamination on UK-produced chickens, the whole food chain needs to play its part. Being able to pinpoint exactly where the source of the bacteria began and how far it travelled through the supply chain can help protect consumers from this bug.
Everyone in the food chain needs to share the responsibility when it comes to Campylobacter