Retailer’s Campylobacter test results in maximum FSA category

Marks and Spencer has recorded the highest Campylobacter in chicken results in the most recent quarterly figures reported in the United Kingdom.

The newest data covers April to June for nine retailers on Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought UK-produced chickens.

For Marks and Spencer, 5 percent were in the maximum category in April, 9 percent in May, and 9 percent in June based on a sample of 376 chickens taken from store shelves across the United Kingdom. This compares to 2 percent above 1,000 CFU/g in January, 3 percent in February and 4 percent in March based on tests of 292 chickens.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.

Waitrose has not updated its results from the first quarter of this year or provided them to Food Safety News when asked to do so. Levels at the supermarket for the previous quarter were zero percent in the above 1,000 CFU/g category.

Results of chickens in the highest contamination bracket went up for all other retailers except Tesco.

Sainsbury’s had about 4 percent of chickens sampled above 1,000 CFU/g compared to 2 percent in the first three months of 2021.

Tesco recorded 3 percent of 300 samples above 1,000 CFU/g in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q) compared to 4 percent in 1Q.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in the UK and the dose needed to make people sick can be as low as a few hundred cells.

Co-op results show 2.7 percent of chickens sampled had contamination at levels greater than 1,000 CFU/g compared to 1.8 percent in the previous quarter.

Aldi reported 4.2 percent of chickens sampled were in the above 1,000 CFU/g category compared to none in the past quarter.

Asda recorded 1.5 percent tested positive for the highest level of contamination in the latest quarter compared to 1.3 percent in the previous three months.

Morrisons had 0.8 percent of chickens at the top contaminated level from 120 birds tested compared to none of 112 samples in 1Q 2021.

Lidl recorded 2 percent of birds in the highest category which is up from about 1.5 percent in 1Q 2021.

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