The supermarket Marks and Spencer has reported better results for Campylobacter in chicken in the latest quarterly figures from the United Kingdom.

The data covers October to December 2021 for nine retailers on high levels of Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.

Results at Morrisons, Lidl, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s went up while Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Co-op, Aldi and Asda recorded lower levels of contamination compared to the previous quarter.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.

Improved performance for Marks and Spencer
For Marks and Spencer, 5 percent of chickens were above 1,000 CFU/g in October, 8 percent in November and 5 percent in December from a sample of 376 chickens.

A total of 13 percent of chickens were in the maximum category in July, 9 percent in August and 5 percent in September from 376 birds sampled. The retailer’s results were also above the FSA limit in May and June 2021.

Morrisons had 4 percent of chickens at the top contaminated level from 123 birds tested compared to 1.8 of 112 samples in the third quarter of 2021. For the whole year, from 467 tests, 1.5 percent had the higher levels of contamination.

Lidl recorded 6 percent of birds in the highest category which is up from 0.5 percent in the previous quarter.

For Tesco, 2 percent of 275 samples were above 1,000 CFU/g in the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q) compared to 4 percent in 3Q.

Aldi revealed 3.3 percent of chickens sampled were in the above 1,000 CFU/g category compared to 6.9 percent in the past quarter.

Co-op’s all clear
Asda informed that 2 percent tested positive for the highest level of contamination in the latest quarter compared to 2.1 percent in the previous three months. The year-to-date total is 1.7 percent above 1,000 CFU/g.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in the UK and the dose needed to make people sick can be as low as a few hundred cells.

Co-op results for the final quarter of 2021 show none of the chickens sampled were contaminated at levels greater than 1,000 CFU/g. This is down from 0.9 percent in the past quarter.

Sainsbury’s had 3 percent of 95 chickens sampled above 1,000 CFU/g compared to 1 percent in the third quarter of 2021.

Waitrose and Partners had 1 percent of chickens testing positive for Campylobacter at levels above 1,000 CFU/g compared to zero in the past quarter.

“The key to our good results continues to be the incredible hard work of our farmers and suppliers combined with our own rigorous data gathering and analysis, surveying chicken both at the factory and on supermarket shelves,” said a Waitrose and Partners spokesperson.

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