Bug thrives in defrosted chicken juices

Juices from defrosted chicken can help Campylobacter thrive in your kitchen, according to a new study report from the Institute of Food Research.

Researchers found that while Campylobacter usually has trouble living outside the gut of a chicken, juices from a defrosted bird turn a formerly unfriendly surface into one that attracts Camplyobacter biofilm.

This film makes it much easier for the Campylobacter bacteria to attach to the surface, and it provides them with an additional rich food source.

While other types of molecules from animals, such as bovine serum proteins or milk, either slow or inhibit biofilm formation, the liquid expelled by chicken enhances it, according to the paper.

Researchers designed the experiment to imitate conditions in an industrial kitchen, putting chicken juice on stainless steel surfaces.

This report follows another published last week concluding that seven in 10 of chickens sold in the UK are infected with the potentially deadly campylobacter bug, Asda had the highest levels of contamination, with 78 per cent of tested birds infected – 28 per cent with the highest levels. Co-op came second, followed by Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Marks & Spencer had the second worst percentage of chickens testing positive for the highest levels.

Tesco had the lowest rates of infection, with 64 per cent of tested birds being positive, 11 per cent at the highest levels.

The supermarkets were named and shamed for the first time today under a move by the Food Standards Agency to improve public health.

An estimated 280,000 people in the UK suffer from campylobacter each year, with it proving fatal in 100 cases – making it the deadliest form of food poisoning.

The FSA tests on 1,995 fresh shop-bought chickens between February and August found 70 per cent tested positive for campylobacter across the industry, with 18 per cent having the “highest levels of contamination”. The bug was also found on six per cent of packaging.

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