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Campylobacter: no fresh chicken sales, frozen only

The Public Health Association (PHA) is supporting calls from University of Otago public health researchers for New Zealand to seriously consider banning the sale of fresh chicken for human consumption, and switch to frozen chicken instead.

PHA Director Dr Gay Keating says such a move may be the best way to start reducing the country's serious campylobacter epidemic.

Dr Keating says that while removing fresh chicken from sale sounds like a drastic measure, it might be necessary if we are to address New Zealand's dubious distinction of being the campylobacter centre of the world.

"The current advice is to cook chicken thoroughly and wash benches, knives, cloths and hands in very hot water with detergent. But that is the advice that has been put forward for decades, and it has not prevented New Zealand from becoming top of the pops in campylobacter. It's clear that current recommended practices for handling chicken are far from being enough, so we need to try other options.

"We know that New Zealand's fresh chicken is heavily contaminated. It's time to start to look at how to reduce the contamination in the first place - such as a possible ban on the sale of fresh chicken." She says other measures used overseas include reducing contamination levels in poultry flocks.

Dr Keating called upon the poultry industry, regulators, scientists and consumer organisations to discuss the science and scale of the problem, and how it could be addressed without further delays.

Consumer concerns about campylobacter were also high on the agenda at a meeting of the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ) this week. The PIANZ board gathered in Auckland, New Zealand, to hear the latest international developments on campylobacter.

See the original news report on campylobacter in New Zealand.

See the original news item where researchers recommended a ban of fresh chicken sales.

See the industry response to the call for a ban on fresh chicken sales.

See a news report showing consumer support for poultry meat is still high.

 

Editor WorldPoultry

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