Campylobacter contamination of chicken an issue for Ireland too, says FSAI

With recent UK survey showing some 70% of supermarket chicken has tested positive for campylobacter, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has confirmed that the problem is also evident in Ireland and Europe wide.

According to Lisa O’Connor, from the FSAI, its latest research has shown that 50% of chicken on Irish retail shelves showed levels of campylobacter contamination.

O’Connor highlighted that campylobacter huge challenge for the poultry industry.

“An issue it that the problem is very hard to identify at farm level. Farmers often don’t know if their chickens are contaminated.”

Only a small number of countries in European, particularly in Scandinavia, monitor the campylobacter contamination at farm level, according to O’Connor.

“This is something that the FSAI has looked for and recommended, she said.

O’Connor said work is being done to put this in place with a steering group for all stakeholders in the industry looking into how such a programme can be best implemented. The group is set to look at best practice in other countries in an attempt to find a solution.

O’Connor noted that there has been huge success at farm level in reducing the issue of salmonella in both laying hens and broilers.

“However those controls are not working for campylobacter,” she said.

Yesterday, a UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) survey found some 70% of supermarket chicken tested positive for campylobacter.

This 12-month survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, will test 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK supermarket outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers.

Campylobacter is killed by thorough cooking; however it is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year. Poultry is the source of the majority of these cases.

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