UK retailer campylobacter test results show continuing trend for contamination reduction


The top nine UK retailers have published their campylobacter test results for UK-produced fresh whole chickens covering the period October to December 2017.

The figures show that, on average, across the market, 4.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination - carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of campylobacter. The figure for the previous quarter (July-September 2017) was 5.14%.

This reduction builds on the first set of results released by retailers in November 2017 with the overall trend continuing to show a reduction in the highest level of contamination. This is consistent with previous research which shows a lower level of contamination over the cooler months of the year.



% of chickens tested positive at the highest level of contamination (over 1,000 colony forming units per gram – cfu/g) – target 10%

% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter

2008 base year



February 2014 – March 2015



July 2015 – March 2016



August 2016 – July 2017



July 2017 – September 2017 (largest nine retailers)



October 2017 – December 2017 (largest nine retailers)



FSA target



Michael Wight, director of policy and science at the Food Standards Agency, said: “It’s good to see that levels of campylobacter found continue on a downward trend. We would like to thank the British Retail Consortium and the retailers for continuing to take the issue of campylobacter seriously and for working together to coordinate the publication of their results. We are actively working across smaller poultry businesses so that they can also contribute to reducing campylobacter levels.”

Last edited on: 12:03:2018

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