One in five chickens sold in supermarkets carries the bug behind most cases of food poisoning. An investigation found that campylobacter and listeria have both been found in was what considered fresh chicken in major grocery retailers.
Campylobacter — a bacterium blamed for more than 370,000 food poisoning cases a year — can be killed by cooking chicken properly and disinfecting contaminated areas.
Consumer watchdog Which? tested 192 samples of whole chickens and chicken portions — standard, free range and organic from Aldi, Asda, The Co-operative, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose in March.
It found bacterial contamination in samples from each retailer.
Which? stressed the study was a ‘snapshot’ as it tested each retailer on two days in different locations and so could not definitively conclude that chicken from one was better than that from another.
But the results are an improvement on 2009, when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK found 65 percent of fresh chickens it tested were contaminated with campylobacter at the point of sale.
Which? repeated advice not to wash raw chicken as it could splash the bacteria on to the sink, worktops or nearby dishes, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.