Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency said: 'It is good to see that levels continue to go down as this indicates that the major retailers and processors are getting to grips with campylobacter. These results give us a clear picture of the positive direction in which we are heading, and help us measure the impact of interventions that are being used to reduce contamination. While results are reassuring, we want to see more progress among the smaller businesses, to achieve real and lasting reductions.
‘In the meantime, I am delighted to see the commitment and responsibility that the industry has shown, so far, in their efforts to provide consumers with food they can trust. They have invested a lot of effort and money into interventions to tackle the problem and it is showing clear results.’
The results for the first five months of our third retail survey (published in March 2017) showed that 7% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, down from 12% for the same period in 2015 and 20% in 2014. This improvement in the highest levels of contamination is mirrored by the decrease in the number of human cases – an estimated 100,000 fewer cases of campylobacter in 2016.
The results met the aims agreed by the FSA Board to reduce the number of people getting ill from the food poisoning. The reduction was estimated to lead to a direct saving to the economy of over £13 million in terms of fewer days off work and NHS costs.