Food safety organization Thursday published new survey results, showing that chickens sold in most of British food retailers were infected with campylobacter.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) on Thursday published the half-way results of a year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens.
A total of 1,995 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens have been tested, with packaging also tested for most of these samples. FSA said those chickens were taken from known British supermarkets or retails, including Asda, The Co-operative, M&S, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.
The first two quarters results showed that 18 percent of chickens tested positive for campylobacter above the highest level of contamination (over 1,000 cfu/g), 70 percent of chickens tested positive for the presence of the same bacteria, which is the most common form of food poisoning in Britain, while around 280,000 people would be affected by the bacteria and killed 100 every year.
FSA said poultry is the source of the majority of these cases and the target is to reduce the prevalence of these most contaminated chickens to below 10 percent at the end of the slaughter process by the end of 2015.
"These results show that the food industry, especially retailers, need to do more to reduce the amount of campylobacter on fresh chickens," said Steve Wearne, FSA director of policy.
The survey was launched in February 2014, and will end in February next year. A total of 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from British retailers and smaller independent stores and butchers will be tested by FSA.