Poultry tops global food safety watch list as 2017 ends

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Issues with poultry products rose 56.6% compared with quarter four 2016
Issues with poultry products rose 56.6% compared with quarter four 2016

Related tags Food

Food integrity issues involving poultry meat and poultry products grew 56.6% year-on-year internationally in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Fera Science.

The organisation issued the data in a report, The Rise of Food Transparency – The Challenge of Change​, which featured research by HorizonScan on the top global food integrity issues affecting food manufacturers.

Poultry meat and poultry products topped the list compared to the same period in 2016, despite a drop of 42.8% in reported issues related to the area compared with the previous quarter.

Salmonella in chicken accounted for 49% of reported issues, while pesticides in eggs – such as the fipronil scandal in August last year – made up 20.6% of poultry-related food safety issues.

Second-largest rise

Nuts, nut products and seeds saw the second-largest rise in reported issues, up 28.6% compared with 2016 and up 77.3% from the third quarter of last year.

Aflatoxins – poisonous carcinogens produced by certain moulds that grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains – caused most issues: 32.5% in hazelnuts and 29.9% in pistachios.

Herbs and spices saw the biggest drop in reported issues year-on-year, down 19.8%. Issues related to seafood products dropped 2.9% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016 and were down 15.5% compared with the previous quarter last year.

A number of food integrity issues could be attributed to the increasing complexity of the food supply chain, said Fera.

Multiple and conflicting demands

“For today’s food companies, supply chain is in the crossfire of multiple and conflicting demands,”​ the organisation stated in the report. “The food industry has had to contend with a large number of new regulations and standards in the past few years and there’s more to come, with Brexit just around the corner.

“Executives of food companies also have to consider the impact of shifting consumer demand and the stricter regulatory framework with respect to food integrity across their entire value chain, from product development and design to quality control, product consumption or return.”

Fera’s report also identified the global trends and market forces affecting the food industry. These were climate change; population growth; a growing middle class; ageing population; urbanisation; and technologies progressing.

Click here​ to download the full report from Fera’s website.

Review Of Issues Being Reported (Rolling 12 Months)

Food Group

Change this year vs last year

Now (2017)

Then (2016)

Fruit and Vegetables

Down by 20.5%



Nuts, Nut Products and Seeds

Up by 5.8%



Herbs and Spices

Down by 17.6%




Up by 9.9%




Up by 2.7%



Meat and Meat Products (other than poultry)

Up by 25.6%



Poultry Meat and Poultry Products

Down by 0.8%



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