Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, with 4 out of every 5 cases due to eating contaminated poultry such as chicken.
At Co-op we're committed to developing new, innovative processes to reduce the possibility of you getting ill through eating one of our products.
What we're doing
We work collaboratively with our farmers to reduce the risk of campylobacter in our chicken products. We have:
- implemented better barrier biosecurity controls, such as making sure our workers wear different footwear for inside and outside, and even for each shed
- increased training for people who work on our farming group farms
- incentivised our farmers to follow best practice
In our supply chain
We have put new practices in place with our suppliers to focus on hygiene and have introduced trained campylobacter subject experts on our processing sites.
We now follow new procedures such as double scalding or blast chilling, that use extreme heat or cold to kill any bacteria.
In your home
While we've done everything to reduce the risk of campylobacter being present, chicken can easily be contaminated during preparation at home.
We advise our customers to:
- never wash raw chicken before cooking as it can actually spread bacteria
- wash their hands before and after handling raw chicken
- always follow the cooking instructions on our products
Across the industry
We were one of the first retailers to sign up to be part of the Foods Standards Agency’s ‘Acting on Campylobacter Together’ (ACT) campaign - designed to quickly share the best workable and available technologies and techniques across the supply chain.
Co-op results for Q4 2018 show 3% of our chickens sampled had contamination levels at levels greater than the maximum contamination measure (1,000 cfu/g) set by the FSA. This is under the government set limit of 7%. We aim to reduce this even further.