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Latest cambylobacter results show need for EU limits

February 26, 2015 12:27 PM

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder is calling on the European Commission to set EU limits for campylobacter levels in poultry meat, in wake of results published today showing that three-quarters of fresh chickens sold in the UK are contaminated with the food poisoning bacterium.

A study by the European Food and Safety Authority has estimated that cases of the potentially life-threatening illness could be cut by between 50% and 90% if EU limits on campylobacter, similar to those already in place for salmonella, were put in place.

Mrs Bearder commented:

"Campylobacter can cause very severe cases of food poisoning and it must be taken seriously.

"EU limits have already helped reduce salmonella cases in Europe by half.

"A similar approach to campylobacter could significantly reduce the risk faced by consumers and force retailers and the poultry industry to clean up their act."

Mrs Bearder added:

"Thoroughly cooking chickens will get rid of the bug and good kitchen hygiene will reduce the risk it poses.

"But there are systematic ways in which campylobacter levels can be reduced at the processing stage.

"The pressure should be on the industry to ensure chickens are free from campylobacter before they reach customers."