Tesco has made some of the strongest progress among U.K. retailers with regard to reducing Campylobacter levels in store-bought chicken — currently a major problem in the country, where 73 percent of chicken sold in stores is contaminated with the bacteria. Despite its progress, the company is making continued pledges to reduce Campylobacter rates and is now setting new targets for its suppliers to reduce contamination rates even further. By 2017, Tesco aims for its poultry suppliers to reduce the rates of chicken contaminated with high levels of Campylobacter to below five percent. Country-wide, 19 percent of chickens sold in U.K. stores carry the highest rates of Campylobacter contamination: more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram. In May, the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) released data after a year of testing store-bought chicken from retailers around the country. Tesco was the only major retailer with Campylobacter rates below the national average. Tesco currently requires safe handling instructions and proper cooking procedures to be displayed on all raw chicken packaging. Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the U.K., with about 280,000 cases every year. Symptoms of Campylobacter infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting.
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