UK Poultry sector very aware of campylobacter issue
The British Poultry Council (BPC) responded to claims made in the ITV
programme Tonight With Trevor MacDonald (11 June, 2007) that chicken meat is a
major carrier of campylobacter, and that the fat content of chicken has
Although the small sample tested in the programme was not at all
representative of UK organic chicken production, the chicken sector is very
aware of the incidence of campylobacter in flocks.
a ubiquitous bacteria in the natural environment and it is generally
acknowledged that birds raised in outdoor systems are more susceptible to
campylobacter, due to their proximity to sources of infection.
While indoor rearing can help reduce the incidence, greater scientific
understanding is needed of how the organism gets into flocks. The British
poultry sector is working with the Food Standards Agency, DEFRA, and researchers
to identify effective ways to prevent flock infection.
The British Poultry Council disputes the claimed
results for fat levels in whole chickens tested on the programme. These are the
opposite of the results of independent studies carried out over many years by
the Royal Society of Chemistry for published food composition tables which show
fat levels in chicken reducing. These reductions are confirmed by a separate
analysis published this year which showed that the most common UK modern breed
of chicken has almost half the level of fat of the same breed of 25 years
Further, the programme implied criticism of the general standards to which
chickens are raised. British Poultry Council chicken members rear chickens in
indoor, free range and organic systems. These farms are covered by assured
standards that deliver good animal health and welfare, as well as food safety.
Our members produce to Red Tractor standards and those of the UK organic
certification bodies; these standards go beyond the legal requirements and every
farm covered is independently audited each year. Consumers can be confident that
chicken farmed in Britain is to a high standard.
The BPC echoes the advice of the FSA, that proper kitchen hygiene and normal
cooking of poultry meat completely removes the risk of infection to
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