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FSA looking to name food bug chicken retailers 'quickly'

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will attempt to name the retailers who sell chicken which has tested positive for a food poisoning bug "more quickly" after criticism from a consumer group.

Which? criticised the FSA for not revealing that almost three fifths of fresh shop-bought chicken tested positive for campylobacter but failed to name any retailers who sold it.

Campylobacter is killed by thorough cooking, but is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year, and the majority of these cases come from contaminated poultry.

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Food industry 'looking at ways' to prevent food bug

The food industry is looking at ways to prevent fresh chicken from being contaminated by the bug campylobacter.

Improved biosecurity on farms, rapid surface chilling, and anti-microbial washes, were all being considered, FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said:

The chicken supply chain is looking at how interventions such as improved biosecurity on farms, rapid surface chilling, and anti-microbial washes can help reduce campylobacter.

So when they take action and invest in interventions designed to make a difference, these survey figures will enable us to see if they really do make an impact.

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.

– Catherine Brown

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