fast food fried chicken

The FSA is neglecting a potentially important source of campylobacter infection by focusing its efforts on retailers and not testing foodservice products, Professor Chris Elliott has warned.

The Horsegate report author said he was concerned at the agency’s apparent failure to test chicken products sold through foodservice outlets for the bug. “We consume an awful lot of chicken through the foodservice sector, yet as far as I am aware no sampling has been undertaken from this important potential source of infection,” Elliott writes in his latest column for The Grocer.

However, the FSA insisted it was right to focus on retailers. “Raw shop-bought chicken is more likely to be a source of contamination,” a spokesman said. “Foodservice products are generally processed and cooked prior to serving, so we would not expect campylobacter to be a problem other than through insufficient cooking.”

“The only foodservice product we have seen recurring problems with is chicken liver parfait or pate which has caused campylobacter outbreaks in the past. In response to this problem we have conducted research and produced a safe method for producing ‘pink’ pate which we have published and made available to the catering sector.”