That yummy-looking chicken may just have bugs
Contamination of chicken with a potentially lethal food poisoning bug is getting worse, new evidence has revealed. The proportion of fresh roasting chickens on supermarket shelves carrying campylobacter is up from 70 per cent to 72.9 per cent
At the same time, the number considered highly contaminated rose from 18 per cent to 18.9 per cent, according to figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of UK.
Simply picking up chickens from a shelf to check the price is also a risk, the FSA warned. It found the proportion of packs contaminated on the outside rose from 6 per cent to 6.8 per cent – or one in 14 packs.
Danger: The proportion of fresh roasting chickens on supermarket shelves carrying campylobacter is up from 70 per cent to 72.9 per cent. The bug is Britain’s most common cause of food poisoning
The increase compared to November figures suggests that supermarkets, farmers and processors are not doing enough to protect customers. An estimated 280,000 people fall ill and 100 people die every year because of campylobacter, which is Britain’s most common cause of food poisoning.
The figures come as a European study published Thursday warned about the emergence of new ‘superbug’ versions of campylobacter, which are resistant to antibiotic medicines. As a result, doctors find it increasingly difficult to treat people who fall ill after handling and eating chicken.
Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, described the situation as ‘scandalous’.
The professor, who has studied campylobacter for 25 years, called for urgent action from stores and the government to protect shoppers.
Dr. Andreas Karatzas, a food microbiologist at the University of Reading, said contamination on the outside of packs is a real threat.
“It is particularly concerning that so many chickens are being sold with bacteria on the outside of the packaging. This hugely increases the risk of cross-contamination to other food in your supermarket trolley or your fridge,” he said.
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