FSA Retail Survey of Campylobacter in Chickens

Feb26

The FSA today released the latest set of figures in its ongoing survey of campylobacter in whole chicken at retail. It continues to monitor the progress on introducing various interventions into the food chain aimed at reducing campylobacter.

The figures, covering February to November 2014, go up to a point where significant interventions began being trialled in slaughterhouses, following years of research into this complex bacterium. These trials have continued to date and the second half of 2015 will see them moving into full scale production and their effectiveness translating into the survey figures.

Commenting on the results, Andrew Large, Chief Executive said:

“We welcome the news that retailers and their suppliers are making significant progress, and hope that proven technology will be made commercially available across the sector. The BPC remains committed to collaborative working between industry, retailers, and regulators, as we believe this is where long-term consistency will emerge. This joint effort is a complement to the creativity and investment we are seeing.”

“We are pleased to see the FSA’s commitment to solving this problem remains as strong as our own, and we look forward to being able to demonstrate good progress as we move through 2015.”

-ENDS-

Media contact

For more information please call Chris Potter on 07540 501173 or Ailsa Logan on 0207 400 4480.

Notes to Editors

  1. Campylobacter Website

The Campylobacter website launched on 26 November 2014. It has been designed by the group to provide consumers information on campylobacter, the work being undertaken to understand the bacterium, steps being taken and the progress in tackling it in the UK. As a central resource, it also has information on the role consumers can play in tackling the bug at home – like any bacteria, campylobacter is killed by proper cooking and good kitchen hygiene should always be followed when handling any meat.

  1. About Campylobacter and the Joint Working Group

Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of many animals. It is a global issue and all those involved in supplying meat have a role to play in reducing campylobacter. People handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.

The poultry industry has been working hard to tackle campylobacter and fully recognises its responsibility to ensure the food it produces is safe. It has worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a reduction plan. The partnership approach has been successful in driving industry-wide efforts.

Over the last five years, over 70 scientific research projects into the bacteria have been conducted and new trials are currently taking place. While much new information has been obtained through these projects, more work is required to find a consistent means of reduction.

In 2015, the JWG will be moving to a delivery phase with large scale trials and implementation of those measures that are most promising for campylobacter reduction. The industry will continue to work closely with all the JWG partners to implement effective measures against campylobacter as soon as practical.

  1. About the Interventions

BPC members are trialling a variety of interventions in their businesses and exchanging information on which approach works best in reducing campylobacter while maintaining product quality. Not every intervention is appropriate for each set of circumstances.

Process Stage Intervention Description
Farm Biosecurity Red Tractor standards now have enhanced biosecurity built into them. This includes, foot dips, clothing requirements and biosecurity barriers.
  No thinning Birds in poultry houses that are not thinned are all taken to slaughter at the same time. This reduces the human/bird interaction, and minimises the opportunity for campylobacter to be brought into a flock.
Catching Improved practices Revised Red Tractor standards also include the requirement that catching teams abide by the same biosecurity standards as farm staff and that all equipment is disinfected with a DEFRA approved disinfectant prior to use.
Transport Crate and Module washing Poultry is transported to the slaughterhouse in creates contained in a module. These will be thoroughly washed prior to re-use to prevent cross contamination between flocks.
Slaughterhouse Re-scalding Slaughtered poultry is scalded prior to de-feathering to loosen the feathers. They may be scalded a second time after de-feathering to remove any contamination.
  Improved washing All BPC producers will ensure that they optimise the maintenance and adjustment of their carcass washing systems to ensure a maximum level of cleaning of each bird.
  Temperature treatment As part of the chilling process, some producers will be trialling temperature treatment of the birds to reduce and remaining levels of bacteria.

 

Sonosteam treatment works as follows:

 

The zone of air closest to the surface serves as a protective mantel restricting vapour and heat exchange across the surface. This layer is often referred to as the laminar sub-layer.
The ultrasound sets the air of the laminar zone in a state with intensified molecular oscillations, causing the steam to be continuously pumped and forced towards the very surface of the target material. This results in a destruction of the protective characteristics of the laminar sub-layer and hot steam can now enter microstructures and pits in the surface and secure fast heat transfer. The continuous pumping of new steam creates a fast, substantial flux of heat to the surface structure.

Due to the small size of microorganisms, these are heated and killed so quickly that the depth of heat entrance into the surface of the product is kept at a minimum. Therefore, the treatment can be stopped before the surface is sensory affected. That is why the effective processing time in a SonoSteam® treatment is very short and for some applications even shorter than one second.

 

Cold temperature treatments work as follows:

 

In one technology the surface of the birds is exposed to a liquid nitrogen spray at -196 degree Centigrade for a few seconds to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degrees Centigrade) and kill bacteria.

 

Another technology uses the liquid nitrogen to chill air, which again is used to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degree Centigrade) and kill bacteria.

 

Packaging Novel packaging Some producers and retailers are packaging that does not need to be removed prior to cooking, removing an opportunity for cross contamination in the kitchen
Kitchen Education The BPC and its members continue to educate the public about the need for good kitchen hygiene to avoid cross contamination and thorough cooking.
  1. Chicken Statistics

Chicken is the most popular meat eaten in the UK. In 2014 about 900 million British birds were bred, hatched, reared, and slaughtered in this country. We also imported the equivalent of (as cuts, portions, and products) another 400 million birds, the majority of which was from other European countries. We can also estimate how many times chicken is eaten every year in the UK. 95% of the population (60.9 million people) eat chicken, and they tend to do so at least twice a week. Over the course of a year that is 6.3 billion occasions where chicken is eaten in homes, schools, hospitals, and restaurants across the country.

  1. About the British Poultry Council

The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included just over 900 million chicken broilers in 2014 (up from just over 780 million in 2001). Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2012, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK.

-ENDS-

13 new scholars have joined the BPC’s scholarship scheme at Harper Adams

Feb13

To find out more please click here.

150211 BPC full group_email

Update: low pathogenic Avian Influenza on Poultry Farm

Feb06

The avian influenza which was detected on a broiler breeder farm in Hampshire on Monday 2nd February has now been confirmed as the low pathogen H7N7.

Ends

Further information:
Chris Potter 07540 501173

CCTV in slaughterhouses debate – Blog

Feb04

The debate on CCTV in slaughterhouses, initiated by Henry Smith MP, is a timely one and to be welcomed. It gives an opportunity to show how technology is helping the poultry industry improve efficiency in how we feed the nation.

The recent survey by the FSA (Animal Welfare Survey 2013) showed that 55% of white meat slaughterhouses now use CCTV. In terms of throughput that means that 98% of all poultry slaughtered in the UK is now covered by CCTV as a matter of course. BPC members have found CCTV an incredibly useful resource for managing many aspects of the slaughter process, and this tool is made readily available to the authorities.

We should bear in mind that CCTV is not an absolute guarantee of animal welfare. A responsible poultry slaughterhouse always uses it in conjunction with high hygiene standards, comprehensive employee training, and independent auditing. Good animal welfare practices are more likely to occur with good training and motivation and a management system that is able to respond immediately to incidents.

Public confidence within the meat sector will no doubt have been knocked by the recent images taken by Animal Aid, and available on their website. Producers have an important duty of care to animals and it is important that the right checks and balances are  implemented to ensure appropriate accountability. Responsible producers of meat production will never condone sub-standard or illegal behaviour and the BPC supports all enforcement measures taken to eliminate it.

FSA gives advice on bird flu (H7)

Feb04

Please follow the link to the latest advice from the Food Standards Agency on Bird Flu – http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2015/13516/fsa-advice-on-bird-flu-h7 

BPC statement on low pathogenic Avian Influenza on Poultry Farm

Feb02

Defra have confirmed this evening that low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) has been detected on a broiler breeder farm in Hampshire.

A 1km restriction zone has been put in place around the infected premises and the poultry on the farm will be culled. Animal and Plant Health Agency investigations are ongoing into the source of the disease.

Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “Swift action is being taken to control the outbreak and we are monitoring the situation closely. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and Public Health England have stated that the risk to public health is very low, whilst the Food Standards Agency state that there is no food safety risk for consumers”.

Poultry farmers are urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security.

-Ends-

For further information please contact Chris Potter on 07540 501 173.

About avian influenza

Avian influenza is a virus that causes disease in birds. Poultry, pigeons and wild or migratory birds, such as ducks, swans, and geese, can become infected with the virus. There are two forms of the virus: high pathogenicity (HPAI) and low pathogenicity (LPAI). Pathogenicity indicates the severity of the disease if the bird contracts the virus.

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection. The severity of LPAI depends on the type of bird and whether it has any other illnesses.

 

British Poultry Council calls on Government to help industry deliver long-term success for the UK

Dec03

London, 3 December 2014 - The British Poultry Council has launched its ‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Industry’ today, calling on the Government to help ensure long-term success for the British Poultry meat industry and help deliver its 2020 vision.

The policy manifesto was launched at the Annual Poultry Awards in the House of Commons, hosted by EFRA Chair Anne McIntosh and with Food and Farming Minister George Eustice MP as guest speaker. It sets out the industry’s high ambitions for 2020, centring on its ability to produce consistently safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food for British families and foreign market.

BPC have called on the government’s help to:

  1. Create the conditions needed to realise growth and export potential.
  2. Ensure rearing poultry remains affordable to British farmers by securing long-term feed supplies.
  3. Promote the dietary benefits and affordability of British poultry meats.

At the launch, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council Andrew Large said: “We are delighted to launch our Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry today. It is an exciting time for the sector with continued UK growth and increasing consumption, as well as significant potential export opportunities.

“But we need the government’s help to ensure that we can realise this potential, whilst at the same time continue to produce consistently safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food for British families at home and abroad.

“This manifesto clearly sets out our aims for the industry over the next five years, and the steps government can take to help ensure our vision is turned into reality. We will speak to all of the main parties ahead of the general election and hope that our policies will be adopted in their respective manifestos”.

Poultry is Britain’s favourite meat and accounts for almost half (46%) of all meat eaten in the UK, nearly the same volume as beef, pork and lamb combined. The industry makes a £3.3bn gross value add contribution to UK GDP, supports £1bn in total tax payable to the Exchequer and supports 73,200 UK jobs.

BPC have high ambitions for the sector going forward, and the document sets out their vision for 2020, including:

  • Growing the value of UK poultry meat year on year – including exports.
  • Growing employment in the sector, contributing to rebalancing UK jobs and growth.
  • UK wide recognition poultry is a lean and nutritious meat that should be part of a healthy UK diet.
  • British poultry remains affordable for British families and Britain’s favourite meat, with poultry accounting for over half of all meat eaten in the UK.
  • A continued decline in levels of campylobacter.

-ENDS-

Media contact

For more information call Chris Potter on 07540 501173 or email bpc@hanovercomms.com

Notes to Editor

1. About the ‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry’

‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry’ sets out a clear plan of action for government to ensure the long-term success of the British poultry meat industry. The document outlines the industry’s 2020 Vision and the steps government can take to help ensure this is turned into a reality. 

BPC’s 2020 Vision

  • Growing the value of UK poultry meat year on year- including exports
  • Growing employment in the sector, contributing to rebalancing UK jobs and growth
  • UK wide recognition poultry is a lean and nutritious meat that should be part of a healthy UK diet
  • British poultry remains affordable for British families and Britain’s favourite meat, with poultry accounting for over half of all meat eaten in the UK
  • A continued decline in levels of campylobacter

Policy Asks

‘Manifesto for the British Poultry Industry’ seeks government’s help to:

  • Create the conditions needed to realise growth and export potential, including defending industry interests in TTIP negotiations.
  • Ensure rearing poultry remains affordable to British farmers by securing long- term feed supplies, with a particular focus on lowering the reliance on soya feed by urging the EU to remove legislative barriers to the UK using insect protein in animal feeds.
  • Promoting the dietary benefits and affordability of British Poultry meats, including revising food and catering procurement guidance to the public sector in order to increase the volume of poultry meat eaten in schools, hospitals and by the armed forces.

2. To view the manifesto please click here: Manifesto for the British Poultry Meat Industry

BRITISH POULTRY INDUSTRY RECOGNISES EXCELLENCE AT BPC AWARDS

Dec03

mattphoto_12_bpc_132 [TIF 14347114602]

London, Wednesday December 3, 2014 – The British poultry industry celebrated outstanding achievements and potential for excellence during the British Poultry Council Annual Awards at the House of Commons last night.

BPC Chairman John Reed presented the awards with Anne McIntosh MP, Chairman of the EFRA Select Committee and highlighted the unique contributions of each winner to the poultry industry.

The BPC Awards recognise years of distinguished service, contribution to marketing, potential for future excellence and support for the industry. This year the awards saw the launch of the BPC awards (please see the accompanying press release).

John Reed said: “These awards continue to be a great platform to showcase the real talent that lies at the heart of the industry. This year is no exception and I have been amazed at the positive contribution all the winners have made in order to receive these great accolades.”

Anne McIntosh MP welcomed the industry’s celebration of excellence: “Having a number of major poultry producers in my constituency, I recognise and welcome their contribution to the local economy and bringing food to our table. I congratulate all the prize winners today and the British Poultry Meat Industry on their ambitious manifesto.”

The winners of the 2014 BPC Awards were selected by an expert judging panel and are as follows:

Distinguished Service Award Winner, Richard Hutchinson, Sales Director at Aviagen Turkeys, who has worked in the industry for three decades and achieved significant turkey parent stock sales to Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia.

Richard Hutchinson said:

“I am delighted and honoured to receive the distinguished service award I count myself very privileged to be involved in such a dynamic industry and it has been a great pleasure to assist in the export of our products to many parts of the world and see the industry develop and flourish.”

Clay Burrows, Managing Director, Aviagen Turkeys commenting on Richard winning said:

“Richard has played such a huge role in the development, not only of our company but the turkey industry overall. He has overseen huge changes in the industry and growth across Europe, it is therefore fantastic that Richard is being recognised with this award.”

Distinguished Service Award Winner, Lindsay Broadbent, Technical & Account Manager at Aviagen UK Ltd, the expert judging panel were impressed with his technical, organisational and personal contribution to the industry particularly in parts of Europe and the Middle East over the last 38 years. Lindsay retires this year.

Lindsay Broadbent said:

“I am really proud to follow so many worthy winners of this award. It is of special significance because any award nominated and voted for by your peers is the highest accolade a person can receive.

Working in a job I enjoyed for so many years with people I like and respect is reward in itself, but for people to take time to recognise that is really the icing on the cake. This finishes off a really emotional and enjoyable 2014. I will miss the daily contact with so many good friends but will keep in touch as much as possible.”

Alan Thomson, Aviagen Regional Commercial & Technical Manager Europe commenting on Lindsay winning said:

“Lindsay’s contribution to the industry should not be underestimated. His calm approach to technical services, sparkling personality and sheer knowledge of the poultry business has made him a great asset and his input has been appreciated by Aviagen customers across the UK and around the globe. While we are sad to see him leave our team we do of course wish him all the best for the future.”

Distinguished Service Award Winner, Noel Bartram, Retired, has over four decades working within the poultry industry and has held a number of positions within AVEC (the European body of Poultry Processors) the BPC and Red Tractor.

Upon receiving the award Noel said: “I am delighted to receive this award. I have had many years of service within the poultry industry and to win this award alongside my peers is a real honour.”

Marketing Award Winners, John and Anna Franklin, Franklin Farms, won the award due to their many years of work in marketing. They recently hosted the Annual Goose Walk at their farm. This involved welcoming over 100 people from the industry as well as local businesses and colleges, to come and talk about the current and forthcoming marketing conditions.

John and Anna both said upon receiving the award: We are very proud to be invited to accept this marketing award, and would like to thank those involved.”

Mid-Career Award Winner, Alan Huston, General Manager-Breeders & Hatcheries at Moy Park, has now 24 years’ experience in the poultry industry. From the importation of grandparent day olds, through to producing day old broilers, Alan oversees operations, liaising with Moy Park’s growers and hatcheries in the UK. Alan is also responsible for the sale of parent stock to Europe and broiler hatching eggs to customers in the UK and the Middle East.

Alan said “I was thrilled to be invited to the House of Commons and to be presented with an award for my work in the poultry industry and with Moy Park. It was a complete surprise to be nominated for this award – let alone to be named the winner!  It is an honour and a privilege to be recognised by my peers within the industry.”

Special Merit Award Winner, Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at CIWF, won the award due to her work on duck welfare outcomes.

Upon receiving the award Tracey commented: “I feel very humble accepting this Special Merit Award from the British Poultry Council. Over the years, we have worked together closely and we are currently finalising a scoring methodology for future integration into the Duck Assurance scheme.”

BPC Scholarship Award Winner, Henrietta Kodilinye-Sims, Veterinary Associate at Slate Hall Veterinary Practice, won the award for her work done to assess the comparability of dermatitis scores between processing plants.

Henrietta on receiving the award said: “I am delighted to receive the BPC scholarship award – it’s a real honour. When I embarked on the project I had no idea it would have such a positive impact for the poultry industry. I hope I can achieve more results like this in my career.”

BPC Scholarship Award Winner, Kay Russell, PHD Student at Scotland’s Rural College, won the award due to her ongoing work into immune responses to necrotic enteritis of broilers and exploring the interactions between genotype and the environment.

Upon notification that she would be presented with the award Kay said: “I am delighted to have been nominated and receive the BPC Scholarship Award. It’s exciting to be invited to the House of Commons and meet others connected to the poultry industry. Studies into host pathogen interactions are important for poultry health and I hope my research can go some way to improving results for the industry.”

Rupert Chalmers-Watson Award Winner, Peter Bradnock, Policy Affairs Advisor to the International Poultry Council, as CEO of the BPC from 1993 to 2013 has been a long advocate of the Turkey Sector.  He was also elected President of the Turkey Club UK at the Club’s AGM this year.

Paul Kelly, Chairman of the BPC Turkey Sector Group said this: “Peter has a long history of working within this industry. He is widely respected and a very worthy winner.”

-ENDS-

Media contact

Chris Potter 07540 501 173 cpotter@britishpoultry.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. About the British Poultry Council – The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included nearly 875 million chicken broilers in 2012 (up from just over 780 million in 2001). Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2012, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK.

 

  1. More pictures of the awards and winners can be sent on request.

BPC Response to the FSA Retail Survey of Campylobacter

Nov27

The British Poultry Council (BPC) views the release of retail survey data as another step to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning by raising awareness amongst consumers. Over the last five years the poultry sector, with retailers and the FSA, has worked hard to understand how this naturally occurring bug gets into flocks, how we can stop it, and how we can remove it once it’s there. It is important to note that campylobacter is a global issue.

The data released from six months of sampling shows that all producers and retailers have levels in the same range. The difference between upper and lower in overall level of campylobacter in flocks is not statistically significant when examined against confidence intervals. This reinforces how universal and challenging the issue is and the complex nature of campylobacter. This data for the first half of 2014 reflects the historical trend of campylobacter peaking in the summer months, and we look forward to seeing the results from future surveys.

It is right that consumers have plenty of information on which to base their buying decisions, be that on safety, welfare, convenience, or price. The industry is freely sharing its progress on reducing campylobacter and details of work undertaken and ongoing can be found at www.campylobacter.org.uk

Campylobacter is not a new phenomenon and research into the bacteria has been ongoing for decades across the globe. We have made significant improvements in detection methods and diagnostics in recent years which will aid our continuing research and measuring the effects of any potential intervention.

Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security who led the government’s review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks, said: “Campylobacter is a complex problem to get to grips with, not only in the UK but worldwide. The Food Standards Agency have very correctly identified this as an important issue for them and the UK food industry to work on in a collaborative manner. I’m not aware of any region in the world working harder to find solutions to this problem but in my opinion, having looked at all the evidence, there is no ‘quick fix’. Improved interventions at the farm level, food processing and packaging, food service and at retail will all be required to really get to grips with significantly reducing the level of contamination and reducing associated human illness. ”

Poultry producers have looked at every part of their production chain to see where new ideas and technology can combat this very complex bacteria. Improved biosecurity on farms, new methods in the slaughterhouse, and brand new technologies being developed such as SonoSteam, rapid surface chilling, and roast-in-the-bag packaging. We hope that a combination of these measures will, over time, reduce the level of campylobacter in chickens.

Reducing the use of thinning (removing birds from a house in stages) is an intervention that may reduce the risk of colonisation by campylobacter in flocks. Not thinning would mean fewer birds being produced on a given farm and at a higher cost, and across the industry more growing space would be required to meet consumer demand.

Consumers also have a role to play as thorough cooking eliminates campylobacter, and along with proper storage and handling any risk can be managed in the kitchen. Roast-in-the-bag technology, on the shelf alongside regular packaging, will allow consumers to choose a product that suits both their lifestyle and their level of confidence in handling and cooking chicken.

Professor Elliott continued: “I also believe education has a major role to play. We need to improve the amount of teaching children (and in many cases adults) get in terms of storing, preparing and cooking food. In terms of the much broader issues of food security and healthy diets, poultry is an extremely important food source. I firmly believe collectively we will get on top of the Campylobacter issue but this will only be achieved by all stakeholders, including us as consumers, playing important roles.”

The BPC and its members are committed to the Joint Working Group on campylobacter, between industry, government, and retailers. This forum has delivered significant understanding of campylobacter over the last five years, and is now overseeing the implementation of techniques that have been developed.

Richard MacDonald, Chair of the JWG, said: “I know that all the stakeholders are here to find a solution, and we are convinced that solid scientific process supported by robust data will be the only path to success. It will take time and effort but I firmly believe we will see incremental improvements made in the fight against campylobacter. All parts of the food chain must work together and I hope we will continue to have the full support of the FSA to do it. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to eradicate this bacteria, but we hope that by operating a step by step approach from farm to fork, we can reduce levels found in chicken.”

For more information on campylobacter and the work of the JWG please visit: www.campylobacter.org.uk

Consumers now able to track fight against campylobacter online

Nov26

26 November 2014- The Joint Working Group on Campylobacter has today launched a website allowing consumers to follow its progress in tackling the bacterium.

Under new Chairman Richard Macdonald CBE, former NFU Director General, the JWG is committed to increasing awareness and transparency of the work the group is undertaking and its progress in tackling campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a global issue and the UK is leading the way on research to understand the naturally occurring and complex bacterium. The website provides outlines of this work and the interventions being trialled by industry to find a solution to the problem. An analysis of these interventions has been provided, alongside an assessment on whether they can form part of a comprehensive mix of interventions that can kill the bug for good.

The website also provides advice to consumers on how to tackle the bug at home. Like any bacteria, campylobacter is killed by proper cooking and good kitchen hygiene should always be followed when handling any meat.

Richard Macdonald CBE, Chair of the Joint Working Group, said: “The Campylobacter website is a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to reassure consumers we are working hard to tackle campylobacter.

“The British poultry meat industry, FSA, DEFRA, NFU and retailers have been working together since 2009 to understand this global issue and identify the means to tackle it. This website is a central resource for anyone wanting to understand more about the work the group has undertaken and to keep updated on developments.

“Consumers should rest assured that the Joint Working Group remains confident of finding the right mix of interventions and technologies to tackle campylobacter once and for all.”

The website can be found at www.campylobacter.org.uk.

-ENDS-

Media contact

For more information call Chris Potter on 07540 501173

Notes to Editors

  1. About the Website

The Joint Working Group on Campylobacter launched www.campylobacter.org.uk on 26 November 2014 It has been designed by the group to provide consumers information on campylobacter, the work being undertaken to understand the bacterium, steps being taken and the progress in tackling it in the UK. As a central resource, it also has information on the role consumers can play in tackling the bug at home – like any bacteria, campylobacter is killed by proper cooking and good kitchen hygiene should always be followed when handling any meat.

  1. About Campylobacter and the Joint Working Group

Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of many animals. It is a global issue and all those involved in supplying meat have a role to play in reducing campylobacter. People handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.

The poultry industry has been working hard to tackle campylobacter and fully recognises its responsibility to ensure the food it produces is safe. It has worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a reduction plan. The partnership approach has been successful in driving industry-wide efforts.

Over the last five years, over 70 scientific research projects into the bacteria have been conducted and new trials are currently taking place. While much new information has been obtained through these projects, more work is required to find a consistent means of reduction.

Over the next 18 months, the JWG will be moving to a delivery phase with large scale trials and implementation of those measures that are most promising for campylobacter reduction. The industry will continue to work closely with all the JWG partners to implement effective measures against campylobacter as soon as practical.

  1. About the Interventions

BPC members are trialling a variety of interventions in their businesses and exchanging information on which approach works best in reducing campylobacter while maintaining product quality. Not every intervention is appropriate for each set of circumstances.

Process Stage Intervention Description
Farm Biosecurity Red Tractor standards now have enhanced biosecurity built into them. This includes, foot dips, clothing requirements and biosecurity barriers.
  No thinning Birds in poultry houses that are not thinned are all taken to slaughter at the same time. This reduces the human/bird interaction, and minimises the opportunity for campylobacter to be brought into a flock.
Catching Improved practices Revised Red Tractor standards also include the requirement that catching teams abide by the same biosecurity standards as farm staff and that all equipment is disinfected with a DEFRA approved disinfectant prior to use.
Transport Crate and Module washing Poultry is transported to the slaughterhouse in creates contained in a module. These will be thoroughly washed prior to re-use to prevent cross contamination between flocks.
Slaughterhouse Re-scalding Slaughtered poultry is scalded prior to de-feathering to loosen the feathers. They may be scalded a second time after de-feathering to remove any contamination.
  Improved washing All BPC producers will ensure that they optimise the maintenance and adjustment of their carcass washing systems to ensure a maximum level of cleaning of each bird.
  Temperature treatment As part of the chilling process, some producers will be trialling temperature treatment of the birds to reduce and remaining levels of bacteria.

SonoSteam treatment works as follows:

The zone of air closest to the surface serves as a protective mantel restricting vapour and heat exchange across the surface. This layer is often referred to as the laminar sub-layer.

The ultrasound sets the air of the laminar zone in a state with intensified molecular oscillations, causing the steam to be continuously pumped and forced towards the very surface of the target material. This results in a destruction of the protective characteristics of the laminar sub-layer and hot steam can now enter microstructures and pits in the surface and secure fast heat transfer. The continuous pumping of new steam creates a fast, substantial flux of heat to the surface structure.

Due to the small size of microorganisms, these are heated and killed so quickly that the depth of heat entrance into the surface of the product is kept at a minimum. Therefore, the treatment can be stopped before the surface is sensory affected. That is why the effective processing time in a SonoSteam® treatment is very short and for some applications even shorter than one second.

Cold temperature treatments work as follows:

In one technology the surface of the birds is exposed to a liquid nitrogen spray at -196 degree Centigrade for a few seconds to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degrees Centigrade) and kill bacteria.

Another technology uses the liquid nitrogen to chill air, which again is used to chill the surface layer down below freezing (but above -2 degree Centigrade) and kill bacteria.

Packaging Novel packaging Some producers and retailers are experimenting with packaging that does not need to be removed prior to cooking, removing an opportunity for cross contamination in the kitchen
Kitchen Education The BPC and its members continue to educate the public about the need for good kitchen hygiene to avoid cross contamination and thorough cooking.

 

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