Research projects have involved initiatives across 600 farms in Northern Ireland and England looking at inputs such as feed and water as well as biosecurity measures and stock management techniques, the company said.
The poultry processor has invested substantially in its farms and processing facilities, including implementing a training programme for more than 200 farmers and catching teams, biosecurity monitoring and enhanced testing programmes.
Moy Park has also introduced a programme of pioneering on-farm testing that gives rapid feedback to farmers on the status of each flock via text message, it announced today (June 16).
“We have been conducting research into campylobacter for a number of years and have been at the forefront of introducing advanced techniques to reduce campylobacter,” said Ursula Lavery, Moy Park’s technical director for Europe and an authority in the poultry industry on campylobacter.
“We work closely with the Food Standards Agency [FSA], other government and industry bodies and university research groups across the UK on this. However, as a leader in the industry we understand our responsibilities in both reducing campylobacter and communicating to consumers that there’s no need to wash raw chicken.
“Our research confirms that consumers know chicken is perfectly safe when cooked and prepared properly and that any unfriendly bacterial is killed during the cooking process.”
Moy Park was one of the first processors to promote that message by introducing a ‘No need to wash’ front of pack sticker on all its branded whole birds.
The company has also produced a video and leaflet for consumers on how to prepare and cook chicken. The video can be viewed at its website, www.moypark.com.
Moy Park employs 12,000 people across production sites in Northern Ireland, Ireland, England, France and Holland.
Refrain from washing raw chicken
Meanwhile, the FSA has renewed calls to consumers to refrain from washing raw chicken before cooking it, as this could spread campylobacter bacteria. According to fresh research, 44% of people always wash chicken before eating it.
The practice could spread campylobacter bacteria on to hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment through the splashing of water droplets, the FSA warned.
In addition, of those canvassed in the FSA survey, just 28% knew of campylobacter, versus more than 90% who had heard of salmonella and E.coli. Only 31% knew that poultry was the main source of campylobacter.
Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year. About four in five of these cases come from contaminated poultry. The resulting illness can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting and, in extreme cases, death.
Take a look at the video on the FSA website about the subject, featuring Ann Edwards, 67, from Hertfordshire, who contracted food poisoning from campylobacter in 1997 and is still living with the consequences today:
Food Manufacture is holding a one-day food safety conference at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire on Wednesday October 15.
The event is divided into four sessions: tomorrow's food safety risks; managing the supply chain; keeping food safe and novel processes and packaging. Representatives from organisations such as the FSA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Bernard Matthews will take part.
Visit the conference webpage for more information and to book tickets or email Alex Webb at email@example.com or call him on 01293 610431.