A main priority for this is to reduce foodborne disease using a targeted approach, and tackling campylobacter in chicken as a priority.
The FSA developed the Campylobacter Risk Management Programme, working in partnership with stakeholders to achieve these aims by December 2015. Part of this programme involved establishing a joint target with industry for the reduction in levels of campylobacter in raw chicken, which was published in December 2010. This target was to reduce the percentage of the most heavily contaminated chickens at the end of the slaughter process from 27% to 10% by December 2015; it is estimated that achieving this could reduce the number of cases of food poisoning by up to 30% (approximately 90,000 cases per year).
The FSA established a programme of monitoring campylobacter contamination levels from March 2012. Samples are taken from chickens at the end of processing (post-chill) in 19 specified UK slaughterhouses and tested to determine the level of campylobacter present on the skin. Results are classified into three bands of contamination, which correspond to less than 100 colony forming units/gram (cfu/g), between 100 and 1,000cfu/g and more than 1,000cfu/g.
The table below shows results from the monitoring programme to date and how they compare with the baseline year of 2008 and with the overall target.