THE FOOD STANDARDS Agency (FSA) today released cumulative results from the first two quarters of its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens.
The bacteria, the cause of thousands of cases of food poisoning every year, was found to be present in 70% of chickens tested, with 18% of chickens showing signs of the highest level of contamination.
The investigation will continue until February 2015, by which time it will have tested over 4,000 chickens destined for High Street retailers, some of whom have been named and shamed within the report.
Asda was highlighted as having the highest incidences of cases amongst the 1,995 chickens already tested for the bacteria, with none of the supermarket chains meeting currently agreed joint effort targets.
The FSA say it is making the elimination of campylobacter a priority as another potential food scandal hits just months after initial reports on ‘horsegate highlighted the wide-spread failures in the meat supply chain.
Steve Wearne, FSA Director of Policy, said, “These results show that the food industry, especially retailers, need to do more to reduce the amount of campylobacter on fresh chickens.
“There is a long way to go before consumers are protected from this bug.”
But he added: “There are signs that some retailers are starting to step up to their responsibilities.
“When more do, we will see the sustained improvements that will help prevent many of their customers getting ill.”