News update:Mar 9, 2016

UK: M&S tackles Campylobacter in poultry supply chain

UK retailer, Marks & Spencer (M&S) had announced details of its five point action plan to tackle the industry-wide challenge of reducing levels of Campylobacter in whole chickens.

The M&S five point action plan has been implemented with 2 Sisters Food Group (M&S' biggest supplier of whole chickens) since the end of September and will be rolled out to the remainder of the M&S supply chain by the end of the year.

The measures include even clearer front-of-pack labelling and double bagging whole chickens so they can be placed straight into the oven without the need to unwrap and handle the chicken. Action is also underway on M&S farms with bonuses paid to farmers who produce Campylobacter free farms and innovative new safety technology in place on the production line.

Steve Rowe, executive director of food at Marks & Spencer, said: "We take safety extremely seriously and have introduced innovative measures that ensure the highest standards and make it easy for our customers.  The plan is working and we are committed to playing a leading role in the efforts to reduce levels of Campylobacter in the poultry industry."

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the Food Standards Agency, said: "I am very pleased to see this impressive initiative by M&S and 2 Sisters. Campylobacter is a serious issue and there is no single solution to the problem. I believe the best way to drive down Campylobacter levels is  by adopting the sort of integrated approach along the food chain  demonstrated by M&S and 2 Sisters. I look forward to seeing the impact of these interventions in the future results of our ongoing survey into levels of Campylobacter in chicken on retail sale."

Ranjit Singh, chief Executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, said: "We are delighted to be leading the way in partnership with Marks & Spencer on campylobacter reduction."

Ruud Peys

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