miércoles, 22 de octubre de 2014

FSA, new packaging system may cut Campylobacter contamination in poultry

The joint government and industry target to reduce Campylobacter in UK

Non-leak packaging may be a key to cutting transmission of the Campylobacter food poisoning found on fresh shop-bought chickens, according to the latest Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures.

The first set of quarterly results from a new survey of Campylobacter showed 59% of fresh shop-bought chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter. But in only 4% of samples was the bug identified on the outside of the packaging.

The low levels of contamination found on packaging, shown in the results released today, potentially indicate the effectiveness of the leak-proof packaging for poultry introduced by most retailers, which helps to reduce risks of cross contamination in consumers’ kitchens. There is still a lot more to be done by all elements of the supply chain to ensure that consumers can be confident in the food they buy.
Shock and dismay: Consumer groups reacted with shock and dismay to the FSA results and called on the agency to name the best- and worst-performing retailers according to the findings. The FSA’s survey reveals unacceptably high levels of Campylobacter and they must now publish the names of the retailers so consumers are aware of the best and worst performing shops.

Campylobacter is responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning and the deaths of 100 people every year so much more must be done to minimize the risk of contamination at every stage of production. Campylobacter is killed by thorough cooking, but it is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year. The majority of these cases originate from contaminated poultry. Previous studies carried out into the prevalence of campylobacter have also indicated that about two thirds of raw poultry carries the bug.

4,000 samples: The 12-month FSA survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, examines the prevalence and levels of Campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chilled chickens and their packaging. The survey will test 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers.

Recent results from the first quarter will help to know the prevalence of Campylobacter on raw poultry sold at retail and help us measure the impact of interventions introduced by producers, processers, and retailers to reduce contamination. These included improved biosecurity on farms, rapid surface chilling, and anti-microbial washes to reduce Campylobacter.

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