Campylobacter: publication of retail survey results
I am writing to express our grave concern about the proposal being put to the FSA Board to withhold information about the levels of the deadly food poisoning bacteria campylobacter in supermarket chickens. Campylobacter is a major public health issue. 72,000 people were reported to have suffered campylobacter food poisoning last year and it kills an estimated 100 people every year.
As you know, the main source for the bacteria is in raw chicken which is why the FSA decided to undertake testing across supermarkets, butchers and convenience stores and publish the results on a quarterly basis with information by retailer and processor.
The publication of the performance of each retailer is in the public interest. The FSA should not sit on this survey data which it initially intended to publish in full.
The FSA was set up because of concerns about commercial and political interference in decisions about food safety. It is with great regret that it has become necessary to remind you of your role to put consumers first, be independent and operate transparently.
At your board meeting today, I urge you to reject the proposal to withhold this information and instead to publish the results in full on a quarterly basis in order to provide consumers with this important information and help to drive up standards.
Which? executive director