Fighting the Threat of Campylobacter

UK - Campylobacter among poultry is set to be a target for food safety officials, the industry and researchers as the European Commission sets out a framework for reducing incidents of the pathogen in poultry meat, writes Chris Harris, senior editor of ThePoultrySite.
calendar icon 30 April 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

In 2005 the British industry had set a target for reducing the prevalence of campylobacter in poultry meat by 50 per cent by 2010.

However, Tim Smith, the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, chairing a British Poultry Council Seminar of food safety in London this week, Poultry Counts: Beating the Bugs, said that it had become obvious that this target would have to be put back.

He said that a survey is being conducted into the presence of campylobacter in poultry meat with the view to establishing a strategic plan for 2010-2015.

Mr Smith said that campylobacter had become a priority inn the battle again food borne illnesses, because it was the biggest cause of food borne disease with 330,000 cases report in the UK and 80 deaths last year.

"Half of these cases are traced back to poultry," he said.

He said that the Food Standards Agency was going to focus on biosecurity on the farm and also to measure the controls being put in place in the slaughterhouse.

As part of the drive to reduce the amount of campylobacter in chicken, Mr Smith said the FSA and Defra are carrying out an in depth review of the pathogen on poultry farms and the European Food Safety Authority is also surveying the incidents of the pathogen.

Mr Smith said he wanted the FSA to work in partnership with the industry and to guide the industry.

"The industry is doing very well with Salmonella, but it is not doing so well with campylobacter," he said.

He added that a voluntary commitment from the industry was far more powerful than a legislative framework and the FSA wanted to use the industry's own strengths to achieve food safety.

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