Food Standards Agency (FSA) bosses believe they are making good progress in the battle against campylobacter, according to papers going to this week’s board meeting (Wednesday 18 November).
Richard McLean, FSA head of planning, said in a paper that there are some “lead indicators” that suggest its work is having a positive impact.
“First, a number of industry trails are under way to improve biosecurity on farms, and a comprehensive report on ‘no thinning’ trials is due in December. (Preliminary results are said to be ‘encouraging’)”
“Second, a number of industry operators are testing end-of-slaughter-line physical interventions, with some encouraging improvements being reported.
“Third, as a result of the FSA’s campylobacter retail survey, several retailers are now taking enhanced action and publicising their intentions,” he said.
Tesco announced earlier this week that it had met the FSA’s national target of having less than 10% of retail chicken in the highest contamination bracket by the end of the year.
The report and data from the first quarter of the second year of the FSA’s retail chicken survey are expected to be published on Thursday (19 November).
The FSA is realistic, however, about having to deal with campylobacter over the long-term.
It has so far launched two campaigns that focus on tackling campylobacter.
Acting on Campylobacter Together is designed to bring the whole food chain together to work towards reducing levels of the bacteria in chicken.
And the 2015 Chicken Challenge is designed to halve the levels of food poisoning from campylobacter by the end of the year, which would mean over 100,000 fewer people getting sick.