2 Agriculture regional manager Werner Strydom has been awarded a Nuffield Poultry Meat scholarship to fund an international investigation into campylobacter.

Entitled “How can we reduce campylobacter in the UK food chain?”, this is the second Poultry Meat scholarship to be awarded since the programme was launched at the Pig and Poultry Fair in 2012.

In his application, Mr Strydom pointed to the growing problem of campylobacter in causing food poisoning in humans, and the strong link with eating chicken.

“Increased biosecurity has been suggested as a means of reducing the spread on farms, but early results of trials indicate that this alone will not reduce the level of contamination sufficiently,” he said. “There needs to be more work done to implement other on-farm controls such as feed additives, water treatments, bacteriophages and competitive exclusion techniques.

“Different countries have different ways of controlling campylobacter in their industries. In the USA and New Zealand, chlorine washes are used in the processing plants to rinse the carcasses – a process banned in the EU.

“Sweden and Iceland slaughter their broiler birds much younger than in the UK, while Denmark does not thin broiler sheds. By analysing practices in other countries I hope to develop practical controls that work for the farming industry in the UK.”

Sponsored by Aviagen, Cobb and Hubbard, the £10,000 scholarship was originally meant to be a biannual award, with the next one scheduled for 2015. But the Nuffield Board and broiler genetics companies viewed this topic as so important, they made an exceptional award for next year.

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