When you are standing at the poultry counter trying to decide which package of chicken breasts to buy, does it ever cross your mind to think about how old the bird was when it was axed?

Didn’t think so.  Well, the good folks at British Poultry are giving that a lot of thought.

The European Union wants to cut the amount of Campylobacter in chickens. That has British Poultry looking hard at the issue.

Research data shows that chicks are campylobacter free for the first two or three weeks of their life. Professor Diane Newell says one option for UK’s poultry industry would be to move forward the time of slaughter for chickens, which is the current practice in Scandinavia.

Professor Newell has also found that a 30 percent reduction in the risk to the consumer can be achieved with only a small reduction in the numbers of campylobacter on chicken carcasses.

UK ‘s poultry and meat sector is tackling campylobacter with a target of halving it by 2010 in British retail chicken.  For more on how the UK broiler industry is dealing with the future EU targets, go here.