As three of the UK’s leading supermarkets launch investigations into their chicken supplies after a national newspaper uncovered a catalogue of alleged hygiene failings within the poultry industry, LINPAC Packaging is urging manufacturers and processors to consider its bug busting antimicrobial solution to help protect consumers.
Undercover footage, photographic evidence and information from whistleblowers gathered by The Guardian newspaper appears to reveal how strict industry hygiene standards to prevent the contamination of chicken with the potentially deadly campylobacter bug can be flouted on the factory floor and on farms. The poultry processing plants involved have denied the claims and a Food Standards Agency review of the evidence has found “no risk to public health.”
But the investigation has prompted Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer to launch emergency investigations into their chicken sources over the last week.
Two-thirds of shop-bought chicken is contaminated with campylobacter, according to the Food Standards Agency. Even when a flock is identified as having the bacteria, the birds can still be sold for human consumption on the grounds that, properly handled and properly cooked, they present no risk to human health.
Campylobacter is an increasing concern for the entire supply chain and preventing cross-contamination during preparation, processing, packing and distribution is seen as a key strategy in reducing the risk to consumers.
As market leaders in their respective fields, food packaging company, LINPAC Packaging, and Addmaster, a supplier of performance additives to industry, have developed a technically-advanced range of trays and lidding films with built-in antimicrobial technology to reduce bacteria growth on the outer packaging of fresh meat.
Addmaster’s Biomaster antimicrobial technology is a silver-based additive that can be added into any plastic, paper, textile, paint or coating product. Treated products have been proven to reduce the growth of Campylobacter on their surface by up to 99.99%.
Alan Davey, Director of Innovation at LINPAC Packaging, said: “While the correct handling and preparation of food by consumers at home prevents contamination, our work with Addmaster is addressing concerns raised by our customers and is helping them to reduce the chances of bacterial growth on the outer packaging of fresh meat products in the stages between farm and fork.
“Addmaster and LINPAC Packaging are committed to helping its customers deliver safer food products by bringing together innovation and technology to develop high quality packaging solutions.”
The additives are cost-effective and crucially do not affect product functionality or the food’s organoleptic properties like taste and smell.
For further media information please contact Joanne Mead, firstname.lastname@example.org or Ian Green, email@example.com at GREEN Communications.
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Notes to editors
• Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in the UK, estimated 371,000 cases in England and Wales in 2009, with 15,000 hospital admissions, 88 deaths and an estimated cost to the economy of more than £583 million. (Figures from FSA – Food Standards Agency)
• Approximately 1 billion chickens eaten each year in the UK
• Campylobacter is a major priority for BBSRC, FSA and DEFRA
• Intensive slaughter processes compromise the effective control of Campylobacter, plants kill approximately 200 birds per minute with frequent bird to bird contact, total pathogen removal is not possible.
• The traditional view is that the greatest risk to consumers is from cross contamination. Various studies have shown contamination of surfaces in the kitchen with Campylobacter. One study showed Cutting boards 77% contaminated, Crockery 72%, Taps 82% Dishcloths 74% Salt cellars 60%
• FSA food chain analysis project concluded that poultry meat represents the greatest risk of Campylobacter infection.
• Poultry is a natural host for Campylobacter, forming a natural part of the Chickens gut. Whilst in the gut it does not cause disease, however during stress it can be released from the gut. During slaughter it can contaminate the meat and carcass.
• The FSA Strategy 2010-2015 includes the outcome that „Food produced or sold in the UK is safe to eat‟. A main priority for this is to reduce foodborne disease using a targeted approach – tackling Campylobacter in chicken as a priority. Reduction of Campylobacter in chicken is a priority because the handling, preparation and consumption of broiler meat may account for 20% to 30% of human cases of campylobacteriosis
• The infective dose for Campylobacter may be less than 500 cells. Symptoms associated with Campylobacter infections appear between 1 to 11 days (typically 2 - 5 days) after infection. Symptoms can vary widely and usually start with muscle pain, headache and fever. Most cases involve diarrhoea, and both blood and mucus may be present in stools. Nausea occurs, but vomiting is uncommon. Symptoms can last from 1 to 7 days (typically 5 days). The infection is usually self-limiting. Campylobacter enteritis is most commonly associated with children (less than 5 years) and young adults. Death rarely occurs, particularly in healthy individuals. However, mortality rates associated with C. jejuni in the US have been estimated at 1 per 1,000 cases.
About LINPAC Packaging
For retailers, packers and food service clients, LINPAC Packaging is an international market leader in the production of primary fresh food packaging and food service solutions. We are a multi material technology provider operating across a network of 16 manufacturing sites and 23 sales operations servicing 37 countries. We champion the reduction of food waste by delivering innovative and efficient packaging solutions. With over 40 years of experience in food packaging safety and security, LINPAC Packaging is the most trusted brand in today’s market.
LINPAC Packaging is part of the LINPAC Group of companies – see www.linpacpackaging.com – and in the UK delivers to the protein, bakery, fruit & produce and food service markets from Featherstone and St Helens and has its global headquarters at Featherstone, West Yorkshire. For further information about LINPAC Packaging: Telephone + 44 (0) 1977 692111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Addmaster (UK) Ltd are the creators of Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology, a safe, effective and permanent range of silver based antimicrobial additives that are incorporated into products at the point of manufacture. The silver ion technology utilised by Biomaster actively inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria on the products surface, will not leach out and lasts the active lifetime of the treated product.
Products that display the Biomaster Protected badge have incorporated Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology. Biomaster Protected products are tested to the latest ISO standards including ISO 22196:2011 and ISO 20743:2007. Biomaster Protected products are proven to be effective at reducing the growth of harmful bacteria such as E.coli, MRSA, Listeria, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Legionella and Pseudomonas.
The Biomaster Protected branding is free to all Biomaster customers and includes worldwide regulatory, technical, sales and marketing support.
Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology and Biomaster Protected are Registered Trademarks of Addmaster (UK) Ltd. For more information on Biomaster call +44 (0) 1785 225656 or visit www.biomastertechnology.com