17 Apr 2018

Contamination warning for raw chicken urged

From Morning Report, 8:54 am on 17 April 2018

Researchers are calling for all fresh chicken to come with a safety warning. Up to 90 percent of chicken meat for sale in New Zealand is contaminated with campylobacter, and it puts 600 New Zealanders a year in hospital.

But a new study has found that only 15 percent of consumers are aware of the contamination and argues that retailers should do much more to warn of the dangers through clear and readable safety labels.

Professor Michael Baker from the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington tells Guyon Espiner the production method causes cross contamination.

“When the chickens are being processed it’s a mechanised process. It’s very efficient but it does basically spread chicken faeces over many of the carcasses. They’re then dropped in a vat of chilled water with chlorine in it to try kill the bacteria. But that’s only partially successful. So it’s basically contamination from the chicken’s own gut content.”