Despite attempts by the Food Standards Agency to “name and shame” supermarkets there has been no reduction in chickens heavily contaminated with campylobacter, a major source of food poisoning causing 100 deaths a year.
In fact the proportion of heavily contaminated chickens has increased overall from 17% to 21%.
Asda has the worst record with almost 30% of its chickens having more than1,000 campylobacter bacteria per gram. Asda said that one of its chicken suppliers, Faccenda Foods, would start blasting birds with steam and ultrasound which can reduce the bacteria by 80%. However this process will only apply to 30% of Asda’s chickens so you’re playing Russian roulette when you buy a chicken from Asda.
The FSA said Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, The Co-op, and Waitrose had produced plans to reduce the problem and shared some results with the agency unlike Tesco and Sainsbury.
The results over the last year for heavily contaminated chicken were:
- Asda 29.7%
- Morrisons 22%
- Co-op 19.1%
- Waitrose 18.4%
- M & S 17.4%
- Sainsbury’s 16.4%
- Tesco 12%
Increasingly chickens are being sold in bags which reduces the need to wash the chicken (which can spread the bacteria) or touch the skin with your hands.
No supermarket yet meets the standard agreed in 2010 of less than 10% of chickens having high levels of bacterial contamination.
See previous posts here