Consumers loyal to fresh poultry

11-08-2006 | |

Consumers are still lining up for fresh chicken in spite of negative publicity about New Zealand’s unusually high rates of human campylobacter.

Some regions have seen minor sales fluctuations in chicken, but the overall trend remains steady.
The Poultry Industry Association (PIANZ) says feedback from suppliers and retailers confirms local consumers are well aware that chicken is safe and healthy when properly cooked and handled.PIANZ says the risks of contracting campylobacter through handling or undercooking have been well documented and publicised since the 1990s.
Executive Director Michael Brooks says media coverage of the issue has generally had a positive effect on consumer awareness about food safety.
Even the Consumer’s Institute  has acknowledged that campylobacter in poultry meat is not new. The Institute says chicken does not need to be taken off the menu, it just needs to be handled appropriately.
Human campylobacter infection can come from a variety of sources including cattle, sheep, poultry, household pets and untreated drinking water.
Complete elimination of campylobacter bacteria from poultry meat, as well as the human population, has proved elusive to scientists all over the world – but cooking chicken properly kills the organism if it is present.
The poultry industry has announced several measures aimed at highlighting the industry’s ongoing campaign to reduce campylobacter levels in raw poultry products.
These measures include new trials of treatment options, a revamped website with special consumer advice, and a review of poultry handling advice on chicken labelling.