Supermarket chicken food poisoning bug levels drop again

The presence of a high level of food poisoning bug campylobacter on whole chickens has continued to drop to 4.5 per cent of supermarket birds overall, according to the latest figures published by the Food Standards Agency.

No Co-op chicken had a high level of the bug.

The FSA said results published by the nine major UK supermarkets showed that 4.5 per cent of whole chickens had more than 1,000 cfu/g. Any chicken with more than 1,000 “colony forming units” per gram of skin is considered high. Asda had the most chickens with a high level of the bug, with 7.2 per cent of those tested over the 1,000 cfu/g limit.

However, the Co-op revealed that none of its chickens had tested at the highest level of contamination.

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The bacteria, which is found at high levels in seven per cent of supermarket chickens, according to a recent study, is the leading cause of food poisoning in the UK and makes 280,000 people ill every year, causing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.

The FSA said: “We have been testing chickens for campylobacter since February 2014 and publishing the results as part of a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem.”

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