martes, 23 de junio de 2015

Campylobacter still threatens a third of UK population

Reducing the numbers of the most highly contaminated birds would cut the public health risk by about 50%.
 Campylobacter could infect a third of the UK population at some stage during their lifetime, according to figures just released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The figure was based on the current infection rates of more than a quarter of a million people a year, the FSA said.

The FSA disclosed the figure to mark the start of 2015’s Food Safety Week. The move also coincides with the launch of the FSA’s ‘Chicken Challenge’ – its call to the whole food chain to halve the number of campylobacter food poisoning cases by 2016.

Biggest cause of food poisoning Campylobacter is most frequently found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK. An estimated 280,000 currently fall ill with Campylobacter food poisoning every year.

This research showed that reducing the numbers of the most highly contaminated birds would cut the public health risk by about 50%, the FSA claimed. That would save thousands of people a year from falling prey to a painful form of food poisoning, which, in some cases, could result in Guillain-Barre paralysis.

The FSA has been leading the industry on reducing Campylobacter contamination and is currently conducting a yearlong survey looking at the levels of campylobacter on fresh completely chilled retail chickens and their packaging. In partnership with farmers and producers, through to caterers and retailers, all parts of the food chain have been working to meet the 2015 target.

Now, up to a third of us could fall ill with Campylobacter at some point in our lives. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce that figure. If everyone lives up to their promises – the FSA, consumers, and the industry – then this really can happen, hugely reducing the number of people who get ill every year.

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