Grocery purchases of chicken in the United Kingdom have declined nearly 7 percent by volume and 4 percent by sales since this time last year. Experts are speculating that the public has been influenced by media coverage of the high levels of Campylobacter contamination found on raw chicken, according to meatinfo.co.uk. Media coverage related to food safety in the UK has largely focused on Campylobacter in chicken this year. First, a whistleblower at a poultry factory revealed alleged violations of hygiene rules for two major chicken producers, and, later in the year, the UK’s Food Standards Agency released a report stating that 70 percent of fresh whole chickens bought in the UK are contaminated with some level of Campylobacter. The statistics on lower chicken sales were released by market research firm Kantar Worldpanel, which speculated that the heightened news around Campylobacter on chicken likely contributed to the situation. But other factors are credited with the decline in chicken sales as well, such as increased spending power leading to the purchase of more expensive meats. In November, leading UK grocery retailer Marks & Spencer announced a new initiative to reduce the presence of Campylobacter on chicken in its stores, the “Campylobacter Challenge“. The plan intends to reduce chicken contamination levels through a combination of five strategies, including rapidly chilling chicken carcasses and wrapping them in a bagging system that allows customers to cook the chickens without physically handling the raw meat.