08 February 1999
Supermarkets push on food hygiene

SUPERMARKETS are applying pressure on meat and poultry suppliers to raise their hygiene standards after finding woeful levels of contamination in supplies, reports The Guardian.

Sainsburys found that one in six chickens was infected with salmonella. Marks & Spencer claims to have cut evidence of salmonella infection in raw, chilled chickens to one in 20 tested.

Safeway, which sells 70 million chickens a year, estimates an average of 11-13% contain salmonella.

A five-year government-ordered study to be published soon will suggest 9.5m people -one-sixth of the population – are struck by some sort of intestinal disease.

Besides salmonella, another bug, campylobacter, is now responsible for over half the cases of reported food poisoning.

The Guardian starts a three-day investigation into the food business, starting with two pages today investigating the long-term increases in food poisoning caused by the high contamination rates in raw meat.

  • The Guardian 08/02/99 page 1, page 6, page 7, page 15 (Editorial)