Heather Hancock, FSA chair, said one of the great successes in recent years had been its work in tackling campylobacter and that the agency had invited Professor Sir Charles Godfray to commission a restatement of the evidence base underpinning its understanding.
This is being taken forward by Matthew Goddard, professor of population and evolutionary biology at Lincoln University: “We expect this restatement to be published later this year. We will use it to judge any further measures need to understand or tackle campylobacter risks from food, and it will help set the context for the ways we tackle other threats to public health.”
Jason Feeney, FSA chief executive, added that factors outside the control of the FSA or the industry, such as climatic conditions, could have a significant impact, not fully understood on the prevalence of campylobacter.
But he praised the continuing efforts made by the main retailers and processors – accounting for around 80% of whole fresh UK-produced chickens – in reducing the levels of campylobacter on their chickens, describing it as “not insignificant and are likely to be associated with a reduced risk to consumers.”
The FSA, he added, remain committed to reducing the levels of campylobacter on all UK produced chickens but the focus on the retail survey would move to smaller retailers, independent traders and market stalls supplied by small processors, which go into catering.