FSA Campylobacter Strategy ‘An Important Shift In Mindset’

Legal Specialists Back New Plans To Tackle Common Cause Of Food Poisoning


By Rob Dixon

Illness lawyers representing thousands of victims of food poisoning outbreaks in the UK and abroad have welcomed the launch of a new Food Standards Agency (FSA) strategy designed to tackle the number of people affected by campylobacter.

The new paper outlines plans including an improvement in the quality of information about the illness, work with local authorities and others to raise awareness of the issue and an increase in support for research into addressing such problems.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, with the FSA claiming it is thought to be responsible for 460,000 cases of food poisoning, 22,000 hospitalisations and more than 100 deaths every year. The FSA has stated that reducing cases of the illness is its top food safety priority.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist illness lawyers, who have helped and continue to help hundreds of people affected by food poisoning outbreaks in the UK and abroad to gain justice over the problems they have endured, have welcomed the plans.

The team notably represent victims of food poisoning outbreaks including one linked to the Street Spice food festival in Newcastle this year, as well as other problems at Butlins resorts and the Majestic Templestowe hotel in Torquay.

Campylobacter victims were also among 409 holidaymakers that Irwin Mitchell helped to secure a £1.9 million settlement for in relation to problems at the Bahia Principe resort in the Dominican Republic in 2007.

Suki Chhokar, a Partner and expert in illness claims at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “This week’s announcement from the FSA is a clear sign of the body’s intent to ensure that more is done to tackle campylobacter and prevent people from falling victim to the potentially fatal illness.

“Through our work, we have seen first-hand how campylobacter can impact on the lives of victims, with the illness often leading them to develop long-term health conditions that, in some cases, they do not fully recover from.

“Our involvement always stems from a general feeling from frustrated victims that they want to know why such problems emerged, as well as what is being done to actively prevent the issues from happening again.

“We have repeatedly called for more action to be taken by health authorities to not just address food poisoning concerns, but also tackle such issues at source – the ultimate aim being that any such problems should be prevented from the outset.

“The FSA has stated that it no longer holds the view that in some cases there is little which can be done to tackle campylobacter contamination in food products and this shift in mindset is an important step.

“We would urge the food industry, retailers and other businesses to also adopt this thinking and ensure safety of customers and the public is an absolute priority.”

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