Chicken contamination worse than feared

The number of chickens contaminated with a potentially lethal food poisoning bug could be far higher than originally feared, industry sources have claimed.

A study published earlier this year by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that six in ten roasting birds were carrying the bug campylobacter.

However, industry sources believe that research due to be released today will show that levels were even worse in chickens purchased over the summer. One told the industry website that as many as nine in ten chickens in some samples tested positive for the bug.

Ministers, supermarkets and producers have known about the problem of campylobacter for more than a decade, but promises to reduce its levels in chicken have so far failed to deliver any improvement.

The bug is associated with 280,000 food poisoning cases a year and as many as 100 deaths, making it Britain’s biggest food poisoning threat.

Meanwhile a leading food safety expert is urging people in the business to take advantage of a technically advanced, safe, effective and minimal-cost tool in the fight against of food poisoning.

Food hygiene expert Dr. Lisa Ackerley says that antimicrobial technology can make a big difference. “While the correct handling and preparation of food by consumers at home prevents contamination, antimicrobials reduce the chances of bacterial growth – on the outer packaging of fresh meat products, for example.”

Dr. Ackerley continues: “This is an extremely useful control to help reduce the contamination of shoppers’ hands in supermarkets. Otherwise invisible bacteria could easily transfer to shoppers’ hands whilst handling packages of poultry or meat and be transferred to other foods, surfaces such as the supermarket trolley or even directly to the mouth if consumers snack whilst shopping, or feed their children – and bacteria such as Campylobacter or E. coli can be infectious in very small numbers.”

Addmaster (UK) Ltd. suppliers of performance additives for industry, recently launched an antibacterial ‘bag for life’ that will help prevent cross-contamination from chicken in grocery bags. The company has also worked with Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging to develop a range of technically advanced trays and films with built-in Biomaster antimicrobial technology to reduce bacteria growth on the outer packaging of fresh meat.

Addmaster Marketing Manager Karl Shaw says that the potential for Biomaster is to reduce the risk of contamination in key points through the food production process is underestimated.

He explains: “Biomaster antimicrobial technology can be added to any product and is proven to inhibit the growth of dangerous bugs such as Campylobacter. When a bacterium lands on a Biomaster surface, it cannot replicate and therefore dies.

More information about LINPAC Packaging.

More information about the Biomaster Protected Bag for Life.

*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.