Campylobacter from Chicken – Not just Salmonella Food Poisoning


The current campylobacter controversy in UK abattoirs has brought into the spotlight a fact that we have known for some time - that the risk from white meats isn't necessarily salmonella food poisoning, but the risk of campylobacter.

Food Poisoning

The food standards agency have campaigned about the risk of campylobacter food poisoning from chicken for two years running now, and if there's problems in the UK, the so called 'health and safety capital', what do you think it's like abroad?

The Problem in the UK

Campylobacter food poisoning was first brought into the spotlight this year in the Food Standards Agency campaign that ran in June, about the practice of washing raw chicken before cooking it. Washing raw chicken does very little to kill the bacteria, and just spreads it around your entire kitchen as it splashes onto the chicken, then off again, onto all your clean surfaces.

This week, it came about again, after disgusting images of hordes of chicken intestines were strewn across the floor in one abattoir.

But it gets worse.

Chicken carcasses were falling off conveyor belts and onto the floor, only to be put back on again.

The Risks Abroad

"When people talk about getting food poisoning from chicken, they automatically assume that they've got salmonella food poisoning." Comments Nick Harris, Head of International Holiday Travel Law at Simpson Millar LLP.

According to statistics from the Food Standards Agency, in 2012, 72,571 people developed campylobacter compared to 9,184 who developed salmonella, and the risks abroad are often far greater. This is because the health and safety and food hygiene requirements we're used to in the UK are often not in place abroad.

Nick continues, "Our department has taken on around 60 cases of campylobacter food poisoning abroad since last summer. People catch the illness in several different ways, such as undercooked white meat, contact with wild animals that were inside their resort, or most disgustingly, it was transmitted to them through infected animal droppings."

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