Campylobacter: food industry selling customers short, says FSA

The Food Standards Agency has refuted claims they are not doing enough to tackle the root causes of the UK’s most common type of food poisoning.

The FSA recently drew criticism when they controversially backtracked on plans to publish quarterly data on rising campylobacter poisoning in the UK. 

The deadly and debilitating effect of campylobacter, which according to the last estimate is found in 65% of chickens, are experienced by about 280,000 people a year and lead to 100 deaths. Without transparency, the FSA’s critics say, there is no incentive for the food industry to improve. 

However Catherine Brown, CEO of the Food Standards Agency, says that it is up to the food processors and the big supermarkets to invest in tackling the problem. 

Writing in The Grocer, she says: “For years now, the FSA has tried to convince processors and retailers to act on campylobacter. The financial cost to the UK economy itself is around £900m annually. Although there has been a lot of research and some good work on packaging, there has been no material investment in interventions designed to make a difference and no material reduction in levels of campylobacter.” 

The agency head adds: “Campylobacter remains the FSA’s number one priority and we will continue to do all we can to encourage industry, particularly trusted brands, to make the necessary investment to tackle the problem, which is their responsibility to resolve.” 

The agency’s position on campylobacter, says Catherine Brown, is clear: “It is the responsibility of those making money from food to make sure it is safe”. 

The FSA also say they will eventually publish the results of their retailer survey, once the methodology has been reviewed. 

The FSA put campylobacter on the agenda in June during their Food Safety Week, when they gave their support to an innovative solution to one of the most common causes of campylobacter infection, cross-contamination during the weekly shopping trip – a reusable bag for raw chicken that you can use for life, safely. 

The anti-bacterial ‘bag for life’ incorporates Biomaster, an innovative antimicrobial technology pioneered by Addmaster (UK) Ltd. 

The Biomaster anti-bacterial bag is manufactured exclusively by UK bag manufacturers Solent Group and is treated with an additive proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria that might transfer between your bag and your groceries. 

Biomaster technology is also used in an award-winning fresh meat tray developed by LINPAC Packaging, designed to reduce the growth of dangerous bugs such as campylobacter, E.Coli, salmonella and listeria to almost zero. 

Addmaster marketing manager Karl Shaw says: “the food industry has a duty to protect their customers from food poisoning. Biomaster antimicrobial technology is another safeguard to control and significantly reduce the risk of food poisoning across the entire supply chain”. 

For more information about Solent Group email or visit their website

For more information about LINPAC Packaging email info@linpacpackaging or visit their website.

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.