Tesco continues to reduce levels of Campylobacter in chicken

19 Feb 2016

Tesco has today released figures which show a continuation in the reduction of levels of Campylobacter in its fresh chicken. The retailer is on course to meet the industry leading target that it set itself last summer, which will deliver a reduction in the presence of the bateria at the highest level in at least 95 per cent of chickens by 2017.

 

The latest data compiled by Tesco, has found that in recent months progress has been made, with figures showing that Campylobacter at the highest level has fallen to 7 per cent in the final quarter of 2014/15, compared to almost 9 per cent for the previous quarter.

Tesco’s Group Quality Director Tim Smith said:

‘Providing high quality and safe food for our customers is always our absolute priority. It has long been our commitment to reduce levels of Campylobacter in our poultry and we are now seeing real progress at all stages of the supply chain and we are confident that we will meet our industry leading target next year.

‘With 93 per cent of our chickens now testing negative for the highest levels of campylobacter, our customers can be confident of the quality and safety of the poultry we sell in our stores. The latest results are testament to the hard work of our suppliers and clearly demonstrate our ambition to remain at the forefront of any developments to improve the quality and safety of our chicken.’

Tesco has introduced a number of interventions that to help shoppers keep safe include being one of the first retailers use robust leak-proof packaging for all raw poultry, which also contains customer information on safe food handling and cooking instructions, with further details available online at the Tesco Real Food Website Food Safety in the Home.

In 2014/15, Tesco consistently performed well in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) year- long survey, which monitored the levels of bacteria in poultry, and was the only major supermarket to have significantly lower levels of Campylobacter in its chicken compared to the industry average. These new figures show that having already achieved the FSA target of 10 per cent, Tesco is continuing to drive down levels of the bacteria even further. 

Notes to Editors

  • Tesco’s data for the period of 19th October- 18th December 2015

  • Suppliers who provide poultry to Tesco are required to meet specifications which will see the numbers of chicken contaminated by Campylobacter at the highest level fall to five per cent by 2017.

  • Tesco’s new specification will require that Campylobacter will not be present at the highest level of >1000 cfu per gram in at least 95% of whole chickens on its shelves. See more information.

  • Tesco updated its chicken packaging in 2014 to ensure food safety messaging was more prominent and will continue to look for ways to raise awareness amongst customers about safe handling practices.

  • For the FSA’s 2014-15 survey, Tesco was the only main retailer to have a lower incidence of chicken contaminated with Campylobacter at the highest level (>1000 cfu/g), compared to the industry average. https://www.food.gov.uk/science/microbiology/campylobacterevidenceprogramme/retail-survey

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on 01707 918 701
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