Chilling technology could solve campylobacter issue, claims Bernard Matthews

Bernard Matthews’ rapid surface chilling technology could be the answer to the poultry industry’s campylobacter problem, but retailers are hesitant to adopt it, due to cost.

The rapid surface chilling, technology, designed in conjunction with BOC, a member of The Linde Group, reduced campylobacter levels by at least 90% and up to 95% in trials. The company said the treatment enabled it to produce food that meets Food Standards Agency (FSA) safety targets.

Bernard Matthews’ group technical director Jeremy Hall told Meat Trade Journal’s sister publication Food Manufacture that using the system would cost an extra “few pence per bird”, but said that “if when buying poultry you can get a bird that is free of any risk, it seems like a relatively small cost to guarantee food safety to the family and the home”.

Supermarkets are reportedly still hesitant to bring rapid surface chilling in, due to the extra cost. Hall said: “There is a degree of resistance. While there is interest, there is very limited adoption at this stage.” A source told that Marks & Spencer is believed to be the first retailer looking to adopt the technology.

Hall, who spoke at Food Manufacture’s food safety conference, told the publication that the next steps were to “see what comes out of reaction when the FSA releases their [name and shame] data in mid-November”. It is very possible that, despite the current retailer resistance, the data from the name and shame programme may push poor performers to adopt the technology.  

He added: “To any retailer, this offers a huge benefit. One ideally would like to see all products adopt this process at the same time and then consumers win without anyone feeling that they are losing out.”

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