The UK Food Standards Agency has published the latest results from its survey of Campylobacter on fresh retail chickens, revealing a decrease in both the number of contaminated birds and those with the highest level of contamination from the equivalent period in 2015.
The results relate to the period from January to March 2016 – the third quarter of the current survey – during which 1,009 samples of fresh, whole, chilled, UK-produced chickens and packaging were tested.
The results show that Campylobacter was present on 50% of the chickens tested, down from 71% in the equivalent period last year. The highest level of contamination was found in 9.3% of samples, down from 21.8% last year.
The Agency says that part of the reason for the reduction in contamination rates is that some retailers and processors are now removing neck skin from chicken carcases before they go on sale. Neck skin is often the most contaminated part of the bird, but it is also the part tested in the survey, so that comparison of the latest results with those from previous quarters may not be reliable.
For this reason the latest set of results have not been broken down according to individual retailers as previously and the Agency has decided to stop the current survey and begin a new one this summer with different test methodology. First results from the new survey will be released early in 2017.
The full survey results can be found here.