The NFU, FSA, Defra, processors, retailers, producers and other stakeholders in the UK poultry industry have committed to implementing practical measures from farm to fork in a bid to stamp out campylobacter in raw poultry meat.
At its most recent meeting in February 2014, the government-industry Joint Working Group on Campylobacter Reduction heard updates on a number of research projects and trials that are currently being conducted to establish the most and least effective methods for controlling Campylobacter on farm, in processing and through improved packaging, along with improving consumer education and awareness of the correct handling and storage of raw poultry meat.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said it was essential that the industry collaborated if a solution for Campylobacter was to be found.
"Campylobacter is not a new issue for the poultry industry. It is a very complex organism which is able to adapt to different environments. It's incredibly positive to see how much research the industry has undertaken and has in the pipeline for the near future," he said.
"The Joint Working Group is just one example of how the whole industry has pulled together for the benefit of consumers. We will be hosting a conference at NFU HQ on March 28 to bring stakeholders together to share best practice and current and future areas for development. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet but consumers can be re-assured that chicken remains safe to eat when cooked thoroughly."
Bob Martin, Head of Foodborne Disease Strategy at the FSA, said: "Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK so it is vital we work together to tackle this problem. We must look at every stage of the food chain to identify solutions that will make a real impact and we welcome the work the NFU and other partners are doing to help us achieve this.
"In addition to the need for the industry to reduce contamination levels in raw products, there is also agreement across industry and Government of the continuing need to increase consumer awareness around safe and hygienic handling of food, including raw poultry meat. This will be highlighted through the national Food Safety Week initiative, which will take place from June 16-20."