Anti-Campylobacter campaign launched in the UK

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning at national level, says the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) at the launch of “Food Safety Week”. The Agency urges UK citizens “to stop washing chicken before cooking it – a practice that can spread Campylobacter bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment through the splashing of water droplets”.

An FSA-commissioned survey found that in the UK levels of awareness of Campylobacter are well below that of other forms of food poisoning. More than 90% of the public have heard of Salmonella and E. coli, whereas only 28% of people know about Campylobacter.

In the European Union overall, despite the first slight drop in five years in cases of campylobacteriosis (the human form of the disease) in 2012, campylobacteriosis remains the most commonly reported zoonotic disease, accounting for 214,000 cases of infections. Typical symptoms include diarrhoea, fever and headache. Campylobacter is mostly found in chicken meat.

Zoonotic diseases, or “zoonoses”, are transmitted to humans via animals. Food is one of the most common forms of transmission of these diseases.