Probe launched into 'contaminated' poultry supplies to UK's leading supermarkets

Undercover investigation exposes how UK’s two biggest poultry firms are flouting hygiene norms

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Friday 25 July 2014

Representative photograph (image courtesy flickr)Three of the UK’s leading supermarkets—Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer—have launched emergency investigations into their chicken supplies after an undercover investigation by a leading English newspaper highlighted how hygiene norms were being flouted in the poultry industry. Britain's health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced an official probe on Friday, according to BBC.

The five-month-long undercover investigation by the Guardian exposes how the factory floors and poultry farms of two biggest poultry players—2 Sisters Food Group and Faccenda—were flouting strict hygiene standards meant to prevent the contamination of chicken with the potentially deadly campylobacter bug.

The investigation had photographs of factory floors flooded with chicken guts in which the bacteria can flourish and carcasses coming into contact with workers’ boots then returned to the production line.

Campylobacter bacteria are present in two-thirds of British fresh chicken sold in the UK. And though the bug is killed while cooking, around 280,000 people in the UK are currently made ill each year by it and 100 people are thought to die. Contamination rates are known to have increased in the past decade.

2 Sisters said: ‘The allegations about our processing sites are untrue, misleading and inaccurate. Both have British Retail Consortium “A” grade Food Standards certifications, based on a number of announced and unannounced visits.

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