New chair for campylobacter working group

Richard MacDonald CBE has been appointed the new chair of the Joint Working Group on Campylobacter as the project heads into its second stage.

MacDonald takes over from Peter Bradnock, former chief executive of the British Poultry Council (BPC), who guided the joint industry and government body through its first phase of research and development.

The BPC explained that The Joint Working Group (JWG) is a collaborative approach between the Food Standards Agency, Defra, the BPC, the British Retail Consortium, and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), designed to reduce campylobacter at every stage of the supply chain.

MacDonald was the director general of the NFU from 1996 to 2009. He has also chaired Defra’s Better Regulation Task Force, is a non-executive director of Moy Park, Dairy Crest, the Environment Agency and the Royal Agricultural University, and is chairman of Farm Africa. In 2002 he was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture.

He said: “I’m pleased to have been asked to help deliver meaningful progress in reducing campylobacter. I look forward to working with industry and government in this fight against a naturally occurring bug that is a very complex and persistent opponent.

“This is where we have to enact all that we’ve learnt over the last five years. The UK is leading the way on what is a global issue, and we have a responsibility to apply ourselves diligently and consistently to solving the problem.”

The next phase of the JWG, according to the BPC, will see interventions and new technologies introduced throughout the farming and production chain, from biosecurity practices on farm, to interventions in the slaughterhouse and novel packaging solutions at retail.

BPC chief executive Andrew Large said: “The UK poultry meat industry welcomes Richard’s appointment. Industry, retailers and government have worked hard to understand this bug and now look forward to continue to work together under Richard’s chairmanship to take our work to the next stage.

“The UK poultry meat industry remains committed to tackling this naturally occurring bug, but consumers should also remember that they have a responsibility. Whenever handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – people should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly, as this kills campylobacter.”

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