Waitrose, Lidl and Asda are the supermarkets with the highest levels of campylobacter in their chickens, according to the latest report from the Food Standards Agency.

The top nine retailers across the UK have published their latest testing results on campylobacter contamination in UK-produced fresh whole chickens, covering samples tested from October to December 2018.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, according the FSA. 

Waitrose, Lidl, and Asda all reported 5% of their chicken tested postive for the highest level - the chickens carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of campylobacter - although still under the FSA target of 7%.

The results in full:

  • Asda: 5.1%
  • Lidl: 5%
  • Waitrose: 5%
  • Tesco: 3%, down from 5% last quarter.
  • Co-op: 3%
  • Aldi:2.5%
  • Morrisons: 1.8%
  • Sainsbury: 1.5%
  • M&S: 1%

Michael Wight, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency said: ‘It is encouraging that campylobacter levels in retail chicken are holding consistently low, however we will continue to work closely with retailers and smaller poultry businesses to bring levels down to as low as reasonably achievable.

‘We would like to thank the major retailers and poultry producers for continuing to work alongside the FSA in the publication of the results.’

How to make sure the chicken you eat is safe:

  • Cover and chill raw chicken - cover raw chicken and store at the bottom of the fridge so juices cannot drip onto other foods and contaminate them with food poisoning bacteria such as campylobacter
  • Don’t wash raw chicken - thorough cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter, while washing chicken can spread germs by splashing
  • Wash used utensils - thoroughly wash and clean all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, after handling raw chicken - this helps stop the spread of campylobacter by avoiding cross-contamination
  • Cook chicken thoroughly - make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut into the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear

Main image by Lebensmittelfotos from Pixabay