Falling level of campylobacter in UK chicken
UK-produced chicken has seen the higher-risk level of campylobacter fall from a presence of 9.3% of samples to 6.5%.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) study looked at retail chickens in supermarkets and butchers. Retailers with the lowest level of the bacteria were M&S, Morrisons and Waitrose. Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in Scotland, and research has indicated that 55-75% of human cases in Scotland are associated with chicken.
Overall, 48.8% of chicken skin samples tested positive for campylobacter at any level, compared to 50% which tested positive in the same period last year.
NFU Scotland’s Poultry Policy Manager Penny Middleton said: “Campylobacter control is extremely difficult on-farm, so these figures represent extremely good progress and are a credit to producers who are working really hard to try and reduce levels despite the difficulties.
“Publication of these figures demonstrates the importance given to tackling to this disease, but consumers are reminded that chicken remains safe to eat provided it is cooked properly and proper hygiene is observed whilst handling raw meat.”