Farming minister accused of complacency on campylobacter
Food and farming minster Minister George Eustice has been branded a “mouthpiece for poisoners” by a Labour MP as the campylobacter debate reaches the Commons.
Speaking to the House of Commons last week, shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle asked what George Eustice and secretary of state for the environment Liz Truss were to doing to tackle campylobacter.
The questioning comes after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released the second quarter of results into its year-long survey into the bug, showing 70% of raw retailed chicken tested positive for campylobacter.
“(Ms Truss) has ministerial responsibility for food production and processing so it’s concerning that yesterday she transferred a question about campylobacter contamination in chicken, which had been on today’s order paper, to the Department of Health.
“The Food Standards Agency has said that 70% of chicken on sale in Britain, much of it produced here, is contaminated by campylobacter – that’s higher than the salmonella infection rate in poultry in the 1980s.
“What is she doing to tackle this totally unacceptable state of affairs?” Eagle said in her address to MPs.
She later asked the food and farming minister: “When are you going to stop being the mouthpiece of the food poisoners and start being the champion of consumers?”
Eustice replied to Eagle’s questioning: “What I can tell you is there’s a project being run by the FSA... to try and develop a treatment system that would have blast-chilling of poultry to deal with this disease.
“Earlier this year the FSA ran an information campaign to raise awareness among the public of this problem and, as you’re aware, the FSA has also recently published information about the incidence of campylobacter in poultry among a range of retailers.”
However, Eagle said both Eustice and Truss seemed “complacent” over the issue.
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