According to new figures from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), up to a third of the population risk being infected with the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter at some point during their lifetime. The estimate is based on the current incidence of about 280,000 cases each year.
The publication of the figures marks the start of the 2015 Food Safety Week and the launch of the Agency’s “Chicken Challenge” – a call to the poultry industry and consumers to each do their bit to halve the number of cases of Campylobacter food poisoning by the end of 2015.
Campylobacter is the commonest cause of foodborne infection in the UK and is commonly found on raw poultry. The Agency says that research indicates that reducing the number of the most heavily contaminated birds in the food chain could reduce the risk to consumers by around 50% and cut the number of infections by thousands each year.
Launching the new initiative, FSA Director Nina Purcell said, “‘More than a quarter of a million people fall ill each year due to Campylobacter food poisoning, and the FSA has been working hard to get industry to reduce that number by cutting the level of contamination on shop-bought chickens. This Food Safety Week, we’re taking that one step further by asking the public to take the ‘Chicken Challenge’ and pledge to take action to help protect themselves.”
More information can be found here.