Hygiene measures and benefits of good biosecurity on broiler farms.
Background and key messages
As part of the Agency's foodborne disease target and strategy to control campylobacter in UK-produced chickens, a campaign was launched in January 2004 to help improve hygiene measures on broiler farms and ensure that best practices are followed at all times.
A leaflet, Cleaner Farms, Better Flocks, and a poster highlighting the main campaign messages have been circulated throughout the UK poultry industry. The key messages are:
- keep livestock away from poultry houses
- only allow essential visitors onto the farm
- use dedicated boots for each poultry house
- eliminate vermin
- wash and sanitise hands before and after visiting the poultry shed
Since the campaign launch the Agency has also run a series of regional poultry growers workshops in the autumn of 2004 and seminars in the spring of 2005.
In support of the messages promoted in the campaign the Agency funded a review of evidence supporting the perceived benefits of biosecurity. The Agency commissoned project MS0004 'Evidence for the effectiveness of biosecurity to exclude campylobacter from poultry flocks' to look at available evidence both published, unpublished and data from industry.
Biosecurity for Housed Broilers leaflet
The campaign has continued in 2006 with the publication of the Biosecurity for Housed Broilers booklet. This was launched at the British Pig and Poultry Fair on 9 and 10 May 2006.
The biosecurity guide builds on the messages promoted in our leaflet and poster, explaining the benefits of good biosecurity, as a means of preventing diseases of poultry and the colonisation of broiler chickens with campylobacter.
A review of phase two of the campaign highlighted that the risk of breaches of biosecurity may be heightened when broiler flocks are thinned.
A joint Food Standards Agency and Defra initiative has been agreed, to raise the awareness of biosecurity issues for poultry catching teams.
A comprehensive review has been undertaken to establish the size and structure of the poultry catching industry, and current best practice in the sector.
A series of meetings are underway to pilot a training initiative, which will focus on promoting good biosecurity with respect to catching teams, reducing the threat of avian influenza and colonisation of broiler flocks by campylobacter during thinning.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and evidence indicates that chicken is the major source of these bacteria in people's kitchens. Therefore, reducing campylobacter in chicken is a priority for the Agency and this is reflected in our new strategic plan where we propose to work with the industry to achieve a 50% reduction in the incidence of UK-produced chickens which test positive for campylobacter by 2010.