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Consumers remain loyal to fresh poultry

by 5m Editor
10 August 2006, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Consumers are still lining up for fresh chicken – despite recent renewed media interest in New Zealand’s unusually high rates of human campylobacter.

The Poultry Industry Association (PIANZ) says anecdotal feedback from suppliers and retailers confirms New Zealanders are well aware that chicken is safe and healthy when properly cooked and handled.

Some regions have seen a minor fluctuation in chicken sales, but the overall trend remains steady.

The Poultry Industry Association says the risks of contracting campylobacter through handling or undercooking have been well documented - and well publicised - since the 1990’s. Consumers have got the message.

Executive Director Michael Brooks says media coverage of the issue has generally had a positive effect on consumer awareness about food safety.

Even the Consumers’ Institute has acknowledged that campylobacter in poultry meat is not new. The Institute says chicken does not need to be taken off the menu, but it must be handled appropriately.

Human campylobacter infection can come from a variety of sources including cattle, sheep, poultry, household pets and untreated drinking water.

Complete elimination of such a ubiquitous bacteria from poultry meat, as well as the human population, has proved elusive to scientists all over the world. However, cooking the chicken does kill the organism.

The Poultry industry this week announced several measures aimed at highlighting the industry’s ongoing campaign to reduce campylobacter levels in raw poultry products.

These measures include new trials of treatment options, a revamped website with special consumer advice, and a review of poultry handling advice on chicken labelling.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

5m Editor