Food safety experts say that freezing chickens could significantly reduce the chances of people catching the food poisoning bug campylobacter. In UK the number of reported cases of campylobacter infections is 60,000, but the real figure is thought to be closer to half a million as people often choose not to visit their doctors when they are ill.
A study has now shown that freezing chickens contaminated with campylobacter can bring about a 90 percent reduction in the number of (campylobacter) cells. A survey carried out by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) previously found that Campylobacter was present in 59 per cent of birds tested, and in 4 per cent of samples it was identified on the outside of the packaging.
Freezing does not happen in the UK, partly because customers prefer chilled or fresh chicken, rather than frozen produce. However processors are also looking at other methods of interventions, such as using steam, ultrasound and "quick-blast chilling", which are known to reduce the number of campylobacter cells on chickens.
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