Food Poisoning Cases from Dirty Chicken Rise
The Food Standards Agency are calling for supermarkets and farms to improve hygiene standards because they are putting customer’s health at risk with infected chicken.
It is estimated that 580000 people are affected by food poisoning annually which is caused by campylobacter which is the UK’s most common food poisoning cause.
Of those 580000 almost 18000 are hospitalised for it and 140 of those die from the bacteria.
Newly published figures from the Food Standards Agency about food poisoning show that over the past four years the number of people affected by food poisoning from chicken has risen.
Trials started that have been started on farms in order to improve security and bring down the chances of the bug spreading have failed.
Warnings that have been issued to supermarkets to ensure that the birds being sold on the shelves are clean also seem to have failed in trying to protect public health and people getting food poisoning from chicken.
A 2009 study showed that two thirds of the fresh chicken on the shelves is contaminated with the bacteria bug.
The numbers of people that have been affected by food poisoning from chicken has grown and it is an indication that attempts to cut down the bug aren’t working.
The draft copy of the FSA’s annual by chief scientist Dr Andrew Wadge report showed that there had been 0.4% rise in cases from 2011 with 72521 people having the campylobacter bug.
Is it believed that the number of people affected with the bacteria may be even higher because the majority of people who have food poisoning don’t visit their GP and discuss it with them.
Both the FSA and advisers put improved hygiene controls and bio security measures in place at farms in the hope that it would decrease the number of birds infected.
The measures put in place were designed to half the number of chickens infected by 2010 but in reference to the newly released data these have failed.
Chief Executives for the Food Standards Agency have criticised supermarkets for not doing enough to stop the spread of campylobacter.
When Tim Smith was the executive for the FSA in 2010 he wrote to all of the chief executives of all of the supermarkets demanding action. Mr Smith didn’t get the desired result but is now Tesco’s group technical director.
Tim Smith’s successor Catherine Brown issued a new call for action at the beginning of the year in January. She said that tackling campylobacter in chicken was her top priority.
Miss Brown arranged a meeting with the supermarket bosses to discuss and try and create solutions for the problem. She had suggested that chicken was to be removed from shelves unless they can guarantee there is no campylobacter.
The Government watchdog is now deliberating over drastic measures to try and solve the problem.
They are reportedly looking at washing the meat with lactic acid or freezing the meat in order to kill the bugs.