It causes more than 100 deaths a year and costs the UK economy about £900 million.

FACT: Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Do you remember the London 2012 opening ceremony and the Olympic stadium filled to bursting point with spectators? Now, try to envisage that huge crowd multiplied by three. You can do the same with Murrayfield in Edinburgh and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. With Casement Park in Belfast, try multiplying the crowd eight times over.

That’s about a quarter of a million people. That’s how many people in the UK could be struck down by campylobacter this year.

However, there is some good news in the fight against campylobacter as a recent survey by the FSA shows a further reduction in levels of campylobacter in chicken.

The figures show that on average, across the market, 6.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination by campylobacter, this is down from 9.3%, in 2016, 12% in 2015 and 20% in 2014. As a consequence, there has been a significant reduction, an estimated 100,000 cases of campylobacter in humans in 2016.

The latest data from the survey also found that:

  • the figure for high-level campylobacter prevalence among the nine *(named retailers) was 5% (compared to 7.8% in January to March 2016).
  • the retailers which had significantly lower levels compared to the average among all retailers were M&S, Morrison’s and Waitrose at 2.5%, 2.8% and 2.7% respectively
  • the group consisting of a number of smaller retailers and butchers *(‘Others’), had a significantly higher level (16.9%) compared to the market average
  • 8% of chicken skin samples tested positive for campylobacter at any level, compared to 50% which tested positive in the same period last year.

 

Campylobacter was found in just under 49% of chickens (1051 skin samples taken from a range of leading supermarkets) tested by the FSA.

*The principal source for this article was the FSA website, June 2017.

*The full survey results breakdown can be found at www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/16235/further-reduction-levels-of-campylobacter-chicken

The survey results show a downward trend in the highest level of contamination in chicken and to continue this trend and keep yourself safe.

What can I do to keep my customers safe from campylobacter and reduce the likelihood of a food safety incident and a claim against my business?

The Acting on Campylobacter Together accelerated solutions event was held in June 2014. It brought together representatives from government, retailers, caterers, poultry producers and processors, and consumer organisations, to agree on actions that could be taken to reduce campylobacter.

As part of the event, a pledge was developed which allowed organisations to demonstrate their commitment to the campaign.

By doing the following;

Acknowledge the impact of campylobacter on humans is unacceptable and that tackling campylobacter becomes a critical priority for our organisation and commit to acting now to ensure we deliver a future in which campylobacter in poultry is no longer a threat to human health.

As part of this commitment the food industry will:

  • share legally all information we have that could help make a difference,
  • invest as much time, effort and money as it takes.

Campylobacter – what you can do

You can demonstrate your support in making a visible and vocal pledge in “Acting on Campylobacter Together” in the following ways:

  • use the Acting on Campylobacter Together emblem on your website to show the work you are doing to tackle the problem,
  • include the emblem on any relevant publications, press releases or at events to acknowledge the shared nature of the solution as well as highlighting your own contributions,
  • use the phrase when speaking publically about the actions you are taking on reducing campylobacter.

 

 

 

The poultry supply industry needs to make some significant changes but producers, processors, caterers and retailers have all committed to their part in the fight against campylobacter.

  • UK Government: to lobby in the European Union for better hygiene controls, and to hold industry to account,
  • farmers and producers: to reduce the number of flocks of broilers (chickens grew for meat) that contain campylobacter when they are presented for slaughter,
  • slaughterhouses and processors: to make sure that the processes they use keep levels of contamination in the birds they produce to a minimum,
  • caterers: to make sure that they and their staff are aware of the risks from raw poultry and work harder to avoid cross-contamination during handling or from under-cooking,
  • local government partners: to help raise awareness of campylobacter and ensure that food business using chilled poultry meat are aware of the risks and keeping to the highest standards of hygiene,
  • retailers and supermarkets: to play their role by advising their customers not to wash raw chicken and to cook it thoroughly,
  • consumers: to reflect on whether the way that they handle food in their homes risks food poisoning for themselves and their families.

By acting on campylobacter together we can provide safer food for the nation and save lives. Will you do your part?

As an organisation, we at AD Training Solutions are committed to doing all that is in our scope to encourage tougher action to bring down levels in chickens and ultimately reduce the high rates of unnecessary food poisoning it causes.

*The principal source for this article was the FSA website, June 2017.

Dale Slinger

We are a family run training company based in South Yorkshire that provides bespoke and standard accredited and non-accredited training to individuals as well as small, medium and large businesses and companies.

AD Training Solutions was created almost 10 years ago by Aga (A) and Dale (D) with the intention of delivering mainly Food Hygiene training to people working with food.

As we have always been passionate about ‘teaching and learning’, we have continuously worked on our knowledge and skills by attending a range of related courses as well as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) events. As a result, we have expended and gradually progressed to deliver: Food Safety (levels: 2, 3 & 4), HACCP (levels: 2, 3 & 4), Health and Safety (levels 2,3 & 4), VACCP (Vulnerability Assessment and Critical Control Points) TACCP (Threat Assessment Critical Control Point), Lead auditor and auditing, as well as teacher training EATS (levels 3 & 4).

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