News update:Mar 9, 2016

FSA publishes campylobacter survey results

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the latest set of results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens.

Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK. The results are published for the first time as Official Statistics. Cumulative results for samples taken between February and November 2014 have been published, including results presented by major retailers.

The results to date show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter. Only three out of more than 3,000 samples of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination.

*More than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

More than 3,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have now been tested. Data continue to show variations between the retailers but none is meeting the target for reducing campylobacter.

The FSA's 12-month survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, will test around 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The full set of results is expected to be published in May.

Download all the survey results as a pdf.

World Poultry

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