Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. The Food Standards Agency estimates that campylobacter causes more than 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year, with around 100 deaths and an estimated cost to the UK economy of around £900 million. It can affect anyone but there are certain groups who are particularly vulnerable to this illness, including children, the elderly and anyone who has a weakened immune system.
Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bug that lives in poultry. It’s harmless to chickens but roughly 4 in 5 cases of campylobacter poisoning have been traced to contaminated poultry. Campylobacter is also found in red meat, unpasteurised milk, unwashed fruit and vegetables and untreated water.
Campylobacter does not normally grow in food but it does spread easily. Even a very small amount of bacteria can cause illness. Bacteria can be present in undercooked or raw chicken and can transfer from these to other ready to eat foods. Washing raw chicken can result in bacteria being spread onto kitchen work surfaces, which increases the risk of contaminating other foods. It can also be spread by failure to wash hands after contact with infected birds and animals.
This is why controls need to be put in place throughout the food pathway, all the way from the farm to the table. The responsibility for providing safe food lies with everyone, not just caterers. Farmers, food manufacturers and distributors all have a part to play in maintaining a safe food pathway. Campylobacter is easily preventable if you have the right controls in place.
The STS Food Safety Standard: Protecting the Most Vulnerable is the only UKAS accredited food safety audit standard which targets the controls in place for specific food borne illnesses. Our experts will help you identify and manage the risks and put measures in place to protect your business, customers and reputation.
Call our team today on 01252 728 300 to find out what you need to do to prevent campylobacter.