The survey looks at contamination levels on individual birds using a sample taken from the neck flap and at contamination on the outside of packaging using swabs. The first results reveal that 59% of the 853 birds tested positive for the Campylobacter with 16% showing the highest level of contamination of >1000 cfu/g. The pathogen was also found on the outside of the packaging in 4% of the samples.
Commenting on the results, FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown said, “This survey is an important part of the work we are doing to tackle Campylobacter. It will give is a clearer picture of the prevalence of Campylobacter on raw poultry at retail and help us measure the impact of interventions introduced by producers, processors and retailers to reduce contamination.”
The survey will continue until February 2015 and will eventually sample 4,000 whole, fresh chickens from retail chains, independent stores and butchers. Controversially, the FSA has decided not to publish individual results for different retailers until more data is available.
More information about the survey results can be found on the Agency website here.