Intertek to help processors take on campylobacter

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Product testing company Intertek has unveiled a new campylobacter facility. 

Open to all poultry processors and manufacturers, the facility is designed to help support the supermarket industry and help reduce the more than 280,000 suspected cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK every year.

Over the last few months, Intertek has been working with food manufacturer Faccenda to deliver campylobacter testing into the supply chain.

A spokesperson said: “We have increased our facilities and expertise to launch a wider testing programme for the poultry industry, as it commits to tackling the most common source of food poisoning in the UK.”

Last year there were 72,000 confirmed cases of campylobacter, more than 100 deaths and a £900 million impact on the UK economy, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which sees reducing campylobacter in chickens as a priority and supports the work that Faccenda is doing.

John Searle, global quality and technical director for Intertek, said: “At Intertek we work in partnership with our clients, so are able to respond swiftly to provide expertise and facilities that accommodate the immediate needs of the industry. The ongoing work for our clients, including Faccenda, means we have developed expert laboratories, fully equipped to tackle campylobacter.”

David Keeble, technical director of Faccenda Foods, added: “Intertek is our trusted testing partner as we at Faccenda work with the industry to find an effective intervention for the reduction of campylobacter levels in poultry meat. This year Intertek have provided great support as we have continued to invest in new initiatives to combat campylobacter.”

According to the FSA's year-long study, campylobacter was been found in 73% of fresh chickens.

The FSA’s year-long survey, which tested around 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers over the past 12 months, found the presence of campylobacter in 73% of chickens tested. One-fifth (19%) of chickens tested positive for campylobacter with the highest band of contamination (more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g)).

Just 0.1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination with 7% of packaging testing positive for the presence of campylobacter.

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