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73% of British Chickens Have Campylobacter At Retail

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-raw-chickens-supermarket-image33900426After a year of testing store-bought chicken in the United Kingdom for Campylobacter, the Food Standards Agency there has published the results — and they’re pretty dismal.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging were collected between February 2014 and February 2015, and 73 percent of the chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

Nineteen percent of chickens tested above the highest category of contamination levels (more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram), while 7 percent of packages also tested positive for Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a foodborne bacteria largely associated with chicken which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. It’s also the biggest cause of food poisoning in the U.K.

In breaking down contamination rates by retailer, FSA found that none had met the target for reducing Campylobacter. Asda had the highest rate of Campylobacter contamination at 80 percent of chicken samples, as well as the most samples (30 percent) with more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram.

Tesco was the only main retailer with a lower rate of chicken contamination at the highest level compared to the industry average.