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REVEALED: Safest stores to buy your chicken from; mixed results for supermarkets.

Byline: TOM BELGER Social Affairs Reporter tom.belger@trinitymirror.com @tom_belger

SHOPPERS are more likely to get food poisoning from chickens at Lidl than any other big supermarket, according to health experts. The Food Standards Agency found almost one in 10 Lidl chickens were highly contaminated with campylobacter, the main cause of food poisoning in Britain.

Raw poultry is the main way people are exposed to the bacteria, so food safety chiefs do a regular survey of chickens on sale in shops.

Just a few months ago, Marks & Spencer had the worst contamination of the main retailers, but now has the lowest at around 2.5% of chickens.

Waitrose was second best at 2.7% of chickens sold, with 2.8% at Morrisons, 3.8% at Tesco, 4.3% at the Co-op, 5.5% at Aldi, 7.3% at Asda and 7.7% at Sainsbury's.

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co.uk/ But the major supermarkets have a better record than other smaller shops and butchers, and industry representatives say they have been working hard to bring campylobacter levels down. Lidl chiefs say they are "disappointed" with the results - suggesting their own figures show their chickens are actually less contaminated than any other retailer's.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket said: "Lidl UK has been actively working in collaboration with its suppliers to reduce the levels of campylobacter in raw chicken.

"Naturally, we were disappointed to see the FSA's findings, which demonstrate a large disparity from our own results of 2.35 (>1000 cfu/g).

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"We continue to echolive address campylobacter reduction as a priority within the business and remain committed to exploring methods with our suppliers to further minimise levels, while ensuring that all packaging of raw chicken includes clear labelling advising customers of the correct cooking and handling techniques, to avoid cross-contamination."

Chair of the Food Standards Agency, Heather Hancock, said: "It is good to see that levels continue to go down as this indicates that the major retailers and processors are getting to grips with campylobacter.

"These results give us a clear picture of the positive direction in which we are heading, and help us measure the impact of interventions that are being used to reduce contamination.

"While results are reassuring, we want to see more progress among the smaller businesses, to achieve real and lasting reductions. In the meantime, I am delighted to see the commitment and responsibility that the industry has shown, so far, in their efforts to provide consumers with food they can trust.

"They have invested a lot of effort and money into interventions to tackle the problem and it is showing clear results."

Director of food policy at the British Retail Consortium, Andrew Opie, said: "We are pleased to see another great set of results.

"However, it is important that all businesses do their part and we echo the FSA request for similar progress to be made by other types of businesses."

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Overall instances of campylobacter in raw chicken are declining

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 15, 2017
Words:505
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