The British Poultry Council welcomes this year’s Food Safety Week, stressing the poultry industry’s commitment to working with the FSA, retailers and consumers to raise awareness about the importance of proper kitchen safety and food hygiene practices.
Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “We wholly support the #ChickenChallenge. It is a great initiative which enables consumers to pledge their commitment to kitchen safety, food hygiene and as a result, reducing campylobacter cases.
“The importance of safe handling of meat is timely as we enter barbecue season. Poultry is a perfect high-quality and nutritious food to enjoy on the barbecue, but people need to make sure that they prepare and cook food properly. Raw chicken need not be washed, and all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces thoroughly washed after preparing raw chicken; as should your hands. Poultry also needs to be thoroughly cooked on the barbecue until juices run clear.”
The poultry industry has worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a campylobacter reduction plan. Last year, the JWG launched a website which allows consumers to follow its progress in tackling the bacterium.
The website can be found at www.campylobacter.org.uk.
Notes to Editors
1.About Food Safety Week
During this annual initiative the FSA will share a number of tips about what consumers can do to protect themselves and their family from food poisoning in their own home, particularly when handling chicken.
2. About the 2015 #ChickenChallenge
The FSA is urging the public to take the “Chicken Challenge” and pledge to take action to help protect themselves and their loved ones against Campylobacter food poisoning. More information can be found here: www.food.gov.uk/chickenchallenge.
3. About Campylobacter
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, 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, we 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.