Fertility and pregnancy * Healthy living

Two thirds of chicken has food poisoning bug

Contamination rife

Two thirds of chicken on sale in the UK are infected with a food poisoning bug, according to new research published yesterday.

In a country-wide survey, the UK Food Standards Agency found campylobacter bacteria in 65% of fresh chicken tested. Salmonella, which can also cause food poisoning, was found in 6% of the samples.

Andrew Wadge, Director of Food Safety at the FSA said: "The continuing low levels of salmonella are encouraging, but it is disappointing that the levels of campylobacter remain high.

"It is obvious more needs to be done to get these levels down and we need to continue working with poultry producers and retailers to make sure this happens.

"Other countries like New Zealand and Denmark have managed to do so, we need to emulate that progress in the UK."

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning by bacteria in the UK, said the FSA. It causes around 55,000 new cases every year.

The bug is usually found on raw and undercooked meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.

Food poisoning due to campylobacter can be avoided by ensuring that all meats - including chicken - are cooked all the way through to kill the bug, and avoiding cross -contamination of other foods with raw meat.

This article was published on Wed 7 October 2009

Image © © Mikael Damkier - Fotolia.com

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