Food bugs found on chicken packaging

A survey by Trading Standards Officers at Birmingham City Council has found potential serious health risks from plastic packaging used to  cover uncooked chicken.

The TSOs bought 20 uncooked chicken items from butchers, convenience stores and supermarkets in the city. Tests then showed that eight of the plastic packages contained the food poisoning bacteria campylobacter, while seven of the chickens were contaminated inside the wrapping – with one also testing positive for salmonella.

In their report to Birmingham City Council, the TSOs said: “Clearly the sample size is not representative of the fresh chicken on sale across Birmingham, but it indicates that campylobacter is present and reflects the national trend.

“There was no link between the positive results on the meat and on the external packaging. This indicates that cross-contamination of the external surface could be at any point, from the packaging process, distribution, food handlers, to the display area itself.

“The Food Standards Agency has announced further controls are to be implemented to specifically reduce the levels of campylobacter contamination in poultry. Industry could reduce the risk further by the use of more robust packaging materials and better display techniques.”

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