AMR Bacteria Present In Retail Chicken ‘In Decline’

AMR Bacteria Present In Retail Chicken ‘In Decline’

The results of an annual survey testing fresh chicken on sale in the UK to see if they are contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) E. coli and AMR campylobacter have been published, revealing an overall decline in contamination for 2017-2018 in comparison to previous years.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) study seems to suggest that tighter controls on antimicrobial usage in industry could be having a positive effect.

The development and spread of AMR is a global concern and while the use of antibiotics is necessary to treat infections and present diseases in both humans and animals, misuse or overuse in healthcare settings and animal husbandry has been linked to the spread of resistant microorganisms, which makes treatment ineffective and represents a public health risk.

It’s thought that the transmission of these microorganisms through the food chain is one way that people can be exposed to AMR bacteria. The FSA monitors the types and prevalence of bacteria in chicken and other produce in order to establish a baseline and calculate the health risks.

Paul Cook, FSA lead in microbiological risk assessment, said: “[AMR] is a national strategic priority for government and the FSA is playing its part by continuing to fill the evidence gap on the role that food plays. 

“While there is evidence that AMR bacteria are present on chicken sold in the UK, it is encouraging to see the levels holding steady and even reducing. The risk of getting AMR-related infections through eating or preparing contaminated meat remains very low as long as you follow good hygiene and cooking practices.”

Advice from the FSA where food hygiene is concerned is to make sure that raw chicken is always covered and stored at the bottom of the fridge so juices can’t drip down and contaminate other food.

It also advises you to avoid washing raw chicken as cooking it thoroughly will kill off any bacteria. Washing meat can spread germs around the kitchen through splashing. After handling raw chicken, hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and warm water to help avoid cross-contamination.

And always check chicken to make sure it’s been properly cooked, with juices running clear and no pink meat.

It can be useful to send employees on training courses from time to time to make sure they’re staying up to date with all the most recent information relating to food safety and hygiene.

A course like level 3 food safety for catering could really help with some of the concerns addressed above, such as the concept of contamination and the risks it poses to food safety. It can also help improve understanding of the detection of contaminants and any corrective actions that may need to be taken.

Get in touch with Learning Plus today to find out more about this training course.