Posted: Thu 26th Feb 2015

ASDA has the highest level of fresh chicken contaminated with food poisoning bug new report says

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 26th, 2015

Food Standards Agency (FSA) results show 73% of shop bought whole fresh chickens in the UK’s supermarket chillers are infected with the food poisoning bug campylobacter, and almost a fifth have tested positive at the highest level.

Figures also show:

  • Asda has the highest proportion of contaminated chicken on its shelves.
  • Year on year increase in the amount of bacteria found.
  • 19% of whole fresh chickens tested were found to be in the the highest range
  • More than 3,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens taken so far.
  • 280,000 people fall ill each year in the UK due to campylobacter related poisoning.

Results from samples so far show 19% of whole fresh chickens tested were found to be in the the highest range for campylobacter bacteria contamination.

Of the fresh chicken sampled 73% tested positive for the presence of campylobacter, 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter.

More than 3,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have now been tested the Food Standards Agency say and their data continue to show variations between the retailers however, none is meeting the target for reducing campylobacter.

Tesco is the only one of the main retailers which has a lower incidence of chicken contaminated with campylobacter at the highest level compared to the industry average. 

Asda is the only main retailer which has a higher incidence of chicken that is contaminated by campylobacter at the highest level, compared to the industry average.

However, the results suggest that none of the retailers is achieving the joint industry target for reducing campylobacter.

Retailer

Number of
samples

% skin samples positive for campylobacter (95% confidence interval)

Asda

491

78.9  

Co-op

274

75.6  

M&S

103

72.2  

Morrison’s

271

76.2  

Sainsbury’s

451

69.6 

Tesco

925

68.2 

Waitrose

96

71.7

Others[1]

450

76.9

Total

3,061

72.9

 
Samples were collected from retail premises in the UK and information gathered included temperature on receipt, approved premises code and use-by dates. Chickens sampled were:
  • Whole, chilled, raw, UK-produced standard, free range or organic chickens;
  • Where contained in a package, it was unopened and undamaged;
  • NOT frozen;
  • NOT basted, herbed, stuffed, marinated or otherwise modified.

The FSA is pressing the industry to play its part in reducing the levels of campylobacter contamination at each production stage to as low a level as possible before raw chicken reaches the consumer. Chicken is safe as long as consumers follow good kitchen practice:

  • Cover and chill raw chicken: Cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip on to other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria such as campylobacter.
  • Don’t wash raw chicken: Cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs by splashing.
  • Wash used utensils: Thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, after handling raw chicken. This helps stop the spread of campylobacter by avoiding cross contamination.
  • Cook chicken thoroughly: Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.
 

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