Chicken packaging contamination rises to 7%

The Food Standards Agency warned this week that time is running out for retailers to take urgent action as the latest figures show an increase in Campylobacter in chicken.

Results published this week from more than 3,000 fresh chickens tested found that 73% were positive for the presence of campylobacter  – up from 70% last November. Meanwhile 7% of packaging also tested positive for the presence of the bug – up from 6%.

FSA director of policy Steve Wearne said  “We now know it is possible to make positive inroads in the reduction of campylobacter. “If one retailer can achieve this campylobacter reduction through systematic interventions then others can, and should”.

“We want the industry to reduce the number of the most highly contaminated chickens, as we know this will have the greatest impact on public health.”

Picking up a packet of chicken in a supermarket is more likely to give you food poisoning than handling a raw bird. The FSA’s test results show that if you put chicken in your shopping basket today, even if you cook the chicken thoroughly when you get home, you still have a real chance of picking up campylobacter on your hands from contaminated outer packaging.

Although the FSA’s study detected relatively small amounts of bacteria on the outer packaging, it only takes a very small amount of Campylobacter to make you seriously ill. Once it’s been transferred from the fridge onto surfaces, utensils or hands, it can be spread to other surfaces and even directly on to ready to eat foods.

Campylobacter twists itself into the lining of your intestine. Once there, it releases toxins that produce strong stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. This mode of action can take 4 to 5 days to imbed into your stomach lining. Because of this, its effects on your body are not immediately obvious.

Campylobacter is also very difficult to remove form the body and it can stay with you for anything from 4 weeks up to 6 months or longer. In extreme cases it can cause paralysis or death. This delayed action also makes it very difficult for you to identify when and how exactly you picked up your food poisoning.

Biomaster has created a new industry standard for the antimicrobial protection of the outside of chicken packaging to protect the consumer from the risk of campylobacter poisoning.  This technology is available for film, trays and lids.

Biomaster has also developed an antibacterial bag for life, which inhibits the spread of bacteria in your bag between shopping trips.

Click here for more information about the Biomaster Antibacterial Bag For Life.

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.