After a thorough inspection, the Food Standards Agency (the U.K.’s food safety inspection division), has determined that nearly 60 percent of supermarket chickens were infected with campylobacter, a dangerous bacteria that’s known to infect both humans and animals with bacterial foodborne disease. Four percent of the tested chicken even had traces of the bacteria on the outside of the packaging. The agency will soon be releasing a report detailing the severity of the outbreak.
Campylobacter is one of the most common forms of bacteria found in raw meat, even more common than the highly publicized salmonella. The bacteria cause severe gastrointestinal distress, and can even be fatal: each year it’s estimated that 125 people die from campylobacter infections in the U.S. alone. The bacteria can be killed by thoroughly cooking the meat, but the bacteria on the outside of the package may be more difficult to kill for this reason.
The FSA has refrained from releasing the names of the supermarkets that are selling the tainted poultry, a decision that Tesco, a well-known U.K. supermarket, is known to have lobbied for, according to Modern Farmer.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi