The UK Food Standards Agency has launched a new plan designed to cut the number of people infected by the food borne pathogen Campylobacter, which is currently the number one cause of food poisoning in the UK.
According to the Agency Campylobacter is responsible for about 460,000 cases of foodborne illness each year, resulting in 22,000 hospitalisations and 110 deaths. The most common source of infection is raw or undercooked chicken and surveys have indicated that about two thirds of chicken on sale in retail stores is contaminated with the pathogen.
The new plan focuses partly on increasing awareness of Campylobacter within the food industry and providing better information about prevalence at all stages in the supply chain. Regulatory barriers to the adoption of effective control measures will be addressed and researched into potential vaccines will be supported.
The poultry industry will be expected to improve biosecurity measures on poultry farms and to improve hygiene in slaughter and processing facilities to help reduce contamination rates. Improving packaging to reduce cross contamination rates in domestic and foodservice kitchens is also seen as a priority.
More information can be found here.