Which? calls for urgent action on campylobacter

With potentially high levels of the food poisoning bug campylobacter in chicken on sale in UK supermarkets, Which? is launching a new campaign calling on supermarkets, the FSA and the chicken industry to Make Chicken Safe.

Consumers are being sold chickens with potentially lethal levels of bacteria, but action is not happening quickly enough to clean up this scandal. People are being harmed by this collective failure – around 100 deaths a year are linked to campylobacter, with thousands more cases of food poisoning reported.

Which? believes it is a complete cop out to place so much responsibility on consumers to clean up poor practices caused earlier in the food supply chain.

Soon the Food Standards Agency will reveal which supermarkets are the worst offenders for selling chickens with unacceptably high levels of campylobacter.  It has been reported that the British Poultry Council and supermarkets are sitting on a wealth of testing results into campylobacter that they have failed to publish. This information should be made public now so the shopper knows if the chicken they are buying is safe. There can be no shirking responsibility, everyone involved in producing and selling chicken needs to act immediately.

We want supermarkets, the Food Standards Agency and the chicken processing industry to make our chicken safe by:

1) Immediately setting out the action they will individually and collectively take to bring campylobacter levels under control;

2) Making public the results of campylobacter testing.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“It’s scandalous that so much chicken with high levels of campylobacter end up on our supermarket shelves.

“The supermarkets, watchdog and industry need to clean up their act and immediately publish the data they’ve been keeping from the public and tell consumers what action they’re taking, from coop to kitchen, to make sure that chicken is safe.”

Notes to editors:

  1. We are expecting the FSA’s campylobacter research to be released next week.
  2. For more details on our campaign, please click here: www.which.co.uk/campylobacter

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