June 21, 2021

Major retailers in UK report Campylobacter levels in chicken below official limit


None of the United Kingdom's top nine retailers have reported Campylobacter in chicken test results exceeding the limit as set by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the first three months of 2021.


The FSA maximum acceptable level is 7% of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.


Tesco was the supermarket that recorded the worst contaminated chicken results with 4% of 300 samples above 1,000 CFU/g in the first quarter of 2021 which was down from 6% in the fourth quarter of 2020.


Sainsbury’s performed much better in the latest set of figures covering January to March with around 2% of chickens sampled above 1,000 CFU/g compared to 7% in fourth quarter last year.


Asda reported 1.3% tested positive for the highest level of contamination in the latest quarter compared to 1.8% in the previous three months.


For Marks and Spencer, 2% were in the maximum category in January, 3% in February and 4% in March based on a sample of 292 chickens randomly taken from store shelves across the UK. It is the only retailer to report data for the 100 to 1,000 CFU/g category. A total of 15% of samples were in this bracket in February and 17% in March.


Co-op results show 1.8% of chickens sampled had contamination at levels greater than 1,000 CFU/g compared to 0.9% in the previous quarter. Lidl recorded about 1.5% of birds in the highest category which is down from 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020.


No chickens sold at Morrisons had the highest level of contamination from 112 birds tested. The figure was 0.8% in the last set of results. Levels at Waitrose and Aldi for the quarter stayed at 0% in the above 1,000 CFU/g category.


- Food Safety News