And all for 10p a chicken.
Almost a fifth of chickens sold in supermarkets are heavily contaminated by campylobacter.
75% of them tested positive and in 7% of cases the outside of the packaging was infected (something the Food Standards Agency has warned about in respect of using “bags for life” so pack raw foods separately).
Supermarkets are not going to meet the FSA target of reducing the proportion of chickens heavily infected by December.
This is because of the price war and farmers reluctance to stop the practice of thinning out the chicken sheds which involves workers taking out birds so that the others can grow bigger (not doing this would reduce the weight of each bird by a fifth) but in the process carrying infections into the sheds on their boots and machinery. The process also stresses the remaining birds who are then more susceptible to disease. and infection.
Not thinning would halve the infection rate. Only Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have ordered their farmers to stop thinning their chicken houses.