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Supermarkets 'working even harder to stop contamination'

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has defended supermarkets after new FSA testing found an increase in the number of raw chickens contaminated by campylobacter.

Today's figures are an important reminder that we have not yet found a way to prevent the presence of campylobacter in raw chicken and supermarkets are working even harder to find solutions to help consumers such as leak-proof packaging for all raw chicken and new roast-in-the-bag products - this is our top priority for food safety.

We are committed to continuing the search for a solution to campylobacter and we support the work of the FSA to get clear advice to consumers about proper cooking and kitchen hygiene.

There has been concern that implementing a solution to prevent campylobacter will mean the cost of chicken increases but we believe any increase should be small and in our competitive market retailers will work with their suppliers to do everything they can to avoid passing this on to consumers.

– Andrew Opie, BRC's director of food and sustainability

Chicken contamination is 'damning indictment of supermarkets'

Consumer group Which? said supermarket bosses should "hang their heads in shame" after the level of campylobacter contaminated chickens was revealed by the FSA.

These results are a damning indictment of supermarkets and consumers will be rightly shocked at the failure of trusted household brands to stem the tide of increasingly high levels of campylobacter.

It's now vital that the industry cleans up its act and works hard to restore consumer confidence. We want to see supermarkets not only publishing effective plans that tackle these scandalously high levels but also demonstrate they're taking real action to make chicken safe.

– Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director

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Details on food poisoning bug in chickens to be released

The extent of food poisoning bug Campylobacter among shop-bought chickens will be revealed today.

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK and is found in poultry. Credit: PA Wire

The Food Standards Authority (FSA) will publish the second set of results, in the year-long testing of whole chickens bought from UK retailers and smaller independent stores and butchers.

The announcement will name individual retailers for the first time, following criticism of the FSA's decision not to identify retailers in the first set of results in August.

Campylobacter, which grows in the guts of chickens, is killed through cooking but is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK with some 280,000 people affected every year.

Which: 'Poultry industry should clean up its act'

Consumer rights watchdog Which?, said yesterday that supermarkets should tell their customers which batches of chicken had tested positive for campylobacter.

It’s in the public interest to publish information about bacteria levels in chickens destined for supermarkets, so the poultry industry should clean up its act and be more accountable and transparent.

– Richard Lloyd, executive director of the consumer rights watchdog Which?

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BPC: 24% of chicken contained highest contamination

Some 24% out of 5,000 batches of chicken randomly selected for testing each year at slaughterhouses contained the highest of three levels of contamination at more than 1,000 bacteria per gram, according to the organisation that represents chicken producers.

BPC: 24% of chicken contained highest contamination. Credit: PA

The British Poultry Council's director of food policy Richard Griffiths said that the results were available within two days and shared immediately with retailers

The (£) Times reported that by that stage, the "chicken was likely to be on supermarket shelves".

Salt 'kills 1.6 million' worldwide

Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Consuming too much salt leads to more than 1.6 million heart disease-related deaths around the world each year, research suggests.

Scientists based the finding on an analysis of 205 surveys of sodium intake in countries representing nearly three-quarters of the world's adult population.

Effects of sodium on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk were determined in a separate study of pooled trial data.

The average level of sodium consumption in 2010 was found to be 3.95 grams per day - nearly double the two grammes recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Funding for food projects 'huge boost to UK farmers'

Almost £18 million worth of funding towards 15 UK-led food projects will be a huge boost to British farmers, Environment Secretary Liz Truss has said.

This move will mean that food served in canteens across the public sector can be more local, seasonal and tastier. This is a huge boost to British farmers and producers and for students, patients and employees who want to enjoy fantastic food

– Liz Truss, Environment Secretary
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