Combatting campylobacter: More work to be done

Our sister title Food Manufacture held a panel discussion on campylobacter during Foodex about the scale of the issue. 

Moderated by group editor Michael Stones and featuring the British Poultry Council’s policy director Richard Griffiths, Bernard Matthews group technical director Jeremy Hall and Meat Trades Journal editor Rod Addy, issues such as the scale of the problem and the best method of prevention were debated.

Hall said there is still a lot to be done on campylobacter which he describes as one of the largest problems in the meat industry. “The industry continues to do substantial work to get a handle on this issue but we are still at a stage where human infection has not dropped. We need to do considerably more.”

He added that consumers could be doing their part as well. “All meat can be made safe by cooking it properly but consumers still have a lot to learn. But we also need to urgently find more effective answers. Our aim is to get the levels down so the product is safe.”

Griffiths stressed that multiple interventions were needed. “As a sector we’ve been working on this since 2009 and some work is starting to bear fruit and we are seeing some reductions through the chain. Multiple interventions need to be worked if progress is to be made.”

He said that some interventions are making inroads to the issue. “Both hot and cold treatments show promise and companies are looking at a combination of both. The technology is there but we’re in a stage of refinement. The real challenge is to raise awareness about campylobacter and we want people to ask questions.”

Addy agreed that more needs to be done. “It has been a real grind due to the complexity of this disease. Progress has been made but quite a lot more needs to happen. There is a concern that campylobacter will go off the radar. The evidence suggests we are making headway but we need to do more.”

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