The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released the latest set of results from its on-going 12-month survey of Campylobacter on fresh chickens sold through the big supermarket chains and other smaller retail outlets.
This set of results includes all the 3,061 samples of whole fresh chicken and packaging taken in the 9-month period between February and November 2014. A total of 73% of skin samples from chickens tested positive for Campylobacter, with 19% showing the highest level of contamination (>1,000 cfu/g). Almost 7% of packaging samples also tested positive for the pathogen.
None of the major retail chains were found to be meeting the industry target for reducing Campylobacter on chicken, with Asda showing the highest contamination rate (78.9%) and Tesco the lowest (68.2%). However, a number of interventions designed to reduce contamination are being tested and the FSA has welcomed the publication of a case study from Marks & Spencer showing a significant reduction in the number of highly contaminated birds.
The FSA survey is now virtually complete and the full results from around 4,000 samples will be published in May. More information about the results released to date can be found here.