FSA Report Reveals 73% Of 'Shop-Bought' Chicken Positive For Campylobacter

Expert Public Health Lawyers Concerned Over Presence Of Food Poisoning Bug


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A report published today by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 73 per cent of 4,000 fresh, ‘shop-bought’ chickens tested positive for campylobacter – a serious bacterial infection.

Expert public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have represented thousands of people who have suffered gastric illness, sometimes as a result of the campylobacter bug, have expressed concern over the latest figures and called for food hygiene guidance to be taken seriously.

The report found that all major retailers failed to reach industry targets to reduce the presence of the bacterium over the period of the study, but noted some supermarket chains, such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons have since begun reducing levels of campylobacter in chickens.

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK and can have serious long-term consequences for victims.

One victim represented by Irwin Mitchell is Stephanie Hartley, 26, from Brixton, South-West London, who attended the Glastonbury Festival in June 2014 and consumed chicken which was purchased from a food stall. She suffered with severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea at the festival and the symptoms continued after leaving the event. Stephanie was taken later admitted to hospital when she developed weakness in her arms and legs.

Tests confirmed the presence of campylobacter and doctors also confirmed she was suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare condition that affects the nervous system, which can be triggered by viral or bacterial infections such as campylobacter.

Amandeep Dhillon, a Partner and specialist Public Health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“This case illustrates the significant consequences that can arise from food poisoning, gastric illnesses and infections caused by campylobacter and the severity of this latest report on the presence of the bacterium in ‘shop-bought’ chicken.

“The bacterium is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and it is important every possible step is taken to reduce its prevalence in products sold in the UK.

"Consumers place their faith in food manufacturers and retailers and expect that the products they are picking off the shelves are suitable for consumption. It is absolutely imperative retailers take food hygiene regulations and guidance seriously and follow them as closely as possible to reduce the presence of campylobacter and other potentially harmful bacteria.

"The importance of addressing the issue of campylobacter in chickens should not be downplayed and it is vital that every possible step is taken to prevent consumers from being exposed to serious risk."
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner