18
November
2015
|
14:30
Europe/London

Contaminated chicken in UK supermarkets - one year on

  • University of Manchester findings show almost three-quarters of people still do not associate the deadly bug campylobacter with chickens on sale
roasted_chicken.jpg

The Food Standards Agency is, tomorrow (THURS), due to publish the results of its latest UK supermarket survey, testing for the deadly bug campylobacter in chickens on sale.

A study led by Professor Dan Rigby at The University of Manchester found that almost three-quarters of consumers still do not associate the pathogen – the most common cause of food poisoning - with the chickens that they buy.

Professor Rigby said: “Following the headlines - one year ago - about the amount of contaminated chicken on supermarket shelves, we surveyed 900 people and found that only 28% associated Campylobacter with poultry and most still significantly underestimated the rate of contamination of chickens for sale in the UK .

“These findings show there is still a huge amount of work to be done to reduce the problem of Campylobacter infection; a problem which costs the UK around £900m annually.”

There is still a huge amount of work to be done to reduce the problem of Campylobacter infection; a problem which costs the UK around £900m annually
Professor Dan Rigby

Other key findings include:

  • One third of people interviewed shortly after last year’s headlines said they could not recall the story.
  • Less than half [40%] said they would change their behaviour at all as a result of the news, most citing changes to the way they handled or cooked chicken.
  • Just over a third of the sample correctly identified the retailer which had just been revealed as having the highest contamination rate.
  • Retailers are failing to promote the food safety benefits of ‘roast in the bag’ chickens.

The study was carried out as part of Enigma Project.

Professor Dan Rigby is available for interview. Full findings are available on request.

Background Material:

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning, responsible for more than 250,000 cases each year. It causes more than a hundred deaths a year and costs the UK economy about £900 million. About four in five cases of campylobacter poisoning in the UK result from contaminated poultry.

The Enigma Project is funded by the Medical Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council and Food Standards Agency.

Table1

% Associating each pathogen with Chicken:

 

Nos

%

Hookworm

24

3

Norovirus

61

7

Campylobacter

250

28

Listeria

191

21

E_Coli

452

50

Salmonella

679

75

Staphylococ

127

14

Botulism

132

15

None of them

61

7

 

900

 
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