A joint industry/government research group set up to study campylobacter is being replaced with a new body that will look at implementing action to combat the bug.

A week after it was revealed that 70% of supermarket chickens had tested positive for campylobacter, the Food Standards Agency said it was pleased to see focus shift to delivering solutions to the bacterium.

Set up in August 2009, the disbanding Joint Working Group had “undertaken a lot of hard slog required to understanding campylobacter and what intervention will work,” said Richard Macdonald, who became chair of the JWG in October. The new group - which will also be chaired by Macdonald and will be given a new name - will be made up of senior figures from the processing, retail and farming industries. They will look at ways of tackling campylobacter through methods such as SonoSteam, rapid surface chilling and packaging technology, as well as improving biosecurity though activity such as better chicken sheds.

Macdonald moved to allay fears that the disbanding of the JWG would result in the loss of scientific expertise on the bug. “It’s about sharing knowledge and converting into action,”he said.

The FSA said it was pleased the intention was to move to a “delivery approach where the findings of the previous group can be put into practice”. “The new group will agree and focus on the most likely solutions and ensure delivery through time-limited and focused project groups,” added an FSA spokeswoman.