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Poultrymeat sector welcomes changes to campylobacter testing

Changes to the Food Standards Agency’s retail testing regime for campylobacter in chicken have been welcomed by the poultrymeat sector.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has agreed with the top nine UK retailers that they can publish their own campylobacter results on their websites, leaving the agency to concentrate on smaller establishments which have struggled to reduce levels of campylobacter.

Richard Griffiths, British Poultry Council chief executive, said the decision made sense as it allowed the FSA to target its limited resources more appropriately.

“The poultry supply chain has a long history of taking the lead when it comes to campylobacter. Producers and retailers are continuing to demonstrate a co-operative and responsible approach, and self-publishing of data is the sensible next step.

“We are doing all we can to reduce campylobacter in our supply chain, so it makes sense for the FSA to devote its limited resources to helping other businesses catch up.”

Sampling and analyses carried out by the retailers will be in accordance with robust protocols established by the FSA that will also ensure that their published results are comparable.

In addition, the FSA will have access to the raw data from each retailer in order to verify the samples and determine industry averages. The FSA said it reserved the right to comment on the results.

It added that the focus for the fourth year of the campylobacter retail survey will be on smaller retailers, independent traders and market stalls that were more likely to be supplied by smaller processors.

“We will now move to encouraging and working with smaller processors who generally have not made the same level of improvements to their processing lines as the bigger chains. Although these plants account for a smaller share of the market, many supply products into catering and local retailers,” the statement added.

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