Challenging targets to fight campylobacter
Tough new poultry processing objectives have been set by the Food Safety Authority to eliminate New Zealand’s reputation as “campylobacter capital of the world”.
The updated strategy, determined by the authority and the poultry industry, has set an interim performance target of cutting campylobacter rates by 50% over the next five years. Reducing bacteria numbers as early as possible in the processing food chain is believed to be the key to the strategy’s success.
The poultry industry has agreed to meet an interim performance target that would see a 90% reduction in current contamination levels and will be effective from April 1, 2008. The industry has between now and then to put the necessary changes to production systems in place and introduce new food safety technologies.
With the support of the poultry industry, the authority will take strong action against premises that do not meet the target. “Ultimately, sanctions could escalate to closing down poor performing premises,” said authority acting chief executive Andrew McKenzie.
The performance target would be re-evaluated as soon as enough human illness data became available.