Progress at Asda supplier leads to Sonostream roll-out to combat campylobacter

Asda is rolling out the use of a steam process at the plants that supply it with chicken, after a trial found it dramatically reduced levels of campylobacter. 

The process, called SonoSteam, kills campylobacter on the skin of chickens through simultaneous application of both steam and ultrasound. It takes 1.5 seconds per bird. Campylobacter is the leading cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Trials have been on-going at Faccenda Foods since installation in December and early results show an 80% reduction in the bacteria. This is now being rolled out full-time in June.

“We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find an effective solution to tackling campylobacter, and we are confident that SonoSteam will have a significant impact on reducing levels and ultimately protecting our customers,” said Asda chief compliance officer Rebecca Lythe.

At Asda’s other main chicken supplier, 2 Sisters, a separate trial to reduce campylobacter is ongoing. There, a ‘no thin’ trial is being carried out with its farmers, whereby flocks of chickens are not thinned out through their natural growing cycle, which is thought can impact on campylobacter levels.

Asda also said it was rolling out its roast in a bag range, where whole birds are cooked in their sealed packaging, removing the need for consumers to touch the raw bird, reducing the spread of bugs around the kitchen.

Roast in a bag currently makes up 50% of its total range and Asda anticipates up to 75% of sales will come from roast in bag over the next 18 months, in response to customer demand. The remaining whole birds will be packaged in October 2015 with new barrier film packaging, which reduces leakages.

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