Retailers line up to sell ‘roast in the bag’ whole chicken

More retailers are offering whole birds as “roast in the bag”, a move which means consumers need not touch raw poultry and risk the spread of campylobacter.

Northern Ireland integrator Moy Park has introduced two lines – “extra tasty” and “garlic & herb” whole birds in sealed packaging.

It’s designed in such a way that, once cooking, the packaging will vent itself inside the oven without leaking juice.

See also: The first nine months of cumulative campylobacter testing results

The new lines will appear in supermarkets that Moy Park serves under its Good Kitchen range in May.

Moy Park roast in the bag chicken

Briege Finnegan, brand marketing manager at Moy Park, said the new range offered consumers a more succulent meat and enhanced flavour.

Aldi has also introduced roast in the bag packaging for its “Ashfield Farm” range. The supermarket said it would use FFP Packaging Solutions’ Estercook product. It too will open automatically when cooking to vent steam. The chicken is being supplied by 2 Sisters Food Group.

Asda was the first supermarket to announce roast in the bag packaging in 2013, supplied by Faccenda Foods.

Since then, both the Co-operative and Marks and Spencer have said they would only sell whole birds as “roast in the bag” to mitigate the risk of campylobacter contamination.

However, at the recent Turkey Science and Production conference, Bernard Matthew’s technical director, Jeremy Hall, said the cost of a slaughterhouse intervention would be far less and offer a better way to combat campy.

A treatment that reduces campylobacter at processing cost about 6p a bird, while roast in the bag adds about £1 to the cost of a standard whole chicken, he explained.

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