Worldpoultry.com reported today that UK scientists and other experts are meeting in London to identify new methods to tackle campylobacter, which has been shown to affect 75% of Britain’s poultry flock.
A recent study by the Food Standards Agency found 65% of 3,000 samples of chicken bought in the UK was infected with the bacterium, which causes about 300,000 cases of illness in people across England and Wales every year, reports Farmers Weekly.
"Tackling the problem of campylobacter in UK chicken is a key food safety priority over the next 5 years," said Dr Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the FSA. "This conference has been organized to see what we can learn from other countries."
A report published by the European Food Safety Authority in mid-March found more than 70% of chicken across the EU was infected with the bacterium.
The report also found that, in the UK, 75% of live poultry arriving at slaughterhouses was infected.
Dr Wadge said there were various ways to bring down the bacteria count in chickens, such as using anti-microbial washes, steam treatment and freezing.
Campylobacter has been in the news recently in the.United States too. An outbreak of campylobacter foodpoisoning has been linked to raw milk from Family Farms Cooperative dairy in Vandalia Indiana that has sickened at least 17 people.
According to the CDC, campylobacteriosis, or campylobacter foodpoisoning, "is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Campylobacter. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts one week. Some infected persons do not have any symptoms. In persons with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection."