Measures to reduce levels of campylobacter stepped up

A host of industry associations have committed to implement practical measures to help combat the issue of campylobacter in raw poultry meat.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra, along with poultry processors, producers and other stakeholders, came together at the end of last month, as part of the government-industry Joint Working Group on Campylobacter Reduction.

The group heard updates on a number of research projects and trials currently being undertaken to establish the most effective methods for controlling the bacteria. The trials included looking at processing through to packaging and improved consumer education on handling and storing raw poultry meat.

Recently elected president of the NFU Meurig Raymond said it was essential the industry worked together to find a solution.

He said: "Campylobacter is not a new issue for the poultry industry. It is a very complex organism, which is able to adapt to different environments. It’s incredibly positive to see how much research the industry has undertaken and has in the pipeline for the near future."

The Joint Working Group will be hosting a conference at the NFU’s headquarters in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire on 28 March in order to bring stakeholders together to share best practice.

"Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet, but consumers can be reassured that chicken remains safe to eat when cooked thoroughly," he added.

Bob Martin, head of foodborne disease strategy at the FSA, said: "We must look at every stage of the food chain to identify solutions that will make a real impact and we welcome the work the NFU and other partners are doing to help us achieve this."

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