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The U.K.'s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced a new strategy to tackle the presence of campylobacter in poultry.
Figures released by the agency reveal that campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.K., affecting about 460,000 people each year. Of these, an average of 22,000 are hospitalized and more than 100 die. Campylobacter is found in a range of food products but poultry is among its main sources, the FSA said.
Despite its efforts to deal with campylobacter, the agency reported little progress from the levels of incidence seen in 2008. This has led to a review of the national strategy for tackling campylobacter and the renewed plan will be formally presented and discussed at a meeting in Aberdeen next week.
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The new strategy includes providing more and improved information about campylobacter at all stages of the supply chain and supporting more effective risk management measures. In addition, the FSA plans to deal with potential regulatory obstacles that could stand in the way of adopting innovative technological solutions to reduce the number of campylobacter cases.
The agency will work with local governments in its efforts to raise awareness of the risks associated with the use of chilled chicken among food businesses and to provide information on how to handle it safely. The FSA pledged to continue supporting research into possible methods of intervention over food poisoning, such as vaccination.