Campylobacter Action Plan - Our Progress
Aldi is committed to the health of all of our customers and dedicated to providing products that meet rigorous safety standards. Chicken is a versatile meat and can be used to create lots of tasty dishes, which we want our consumers to be able to enjoy safely.
We acknowledge that tackling Campylobacter is a major challenge facing the whole industry which is why we have invested £2m to tackle it. We know we can’t do this alone and so we have worked closely with our suppliers and the FSA to share data and cutting-edge research, and to develop a plan (which you can see here: https://corporate.aldi.co.uk/en/responsibility/consumers/our-action-on-campylobacter/), to bring it under control.
Aldi has been monitoring the levels of Campylobacter in its chickens since 2013. We have shared our methodology and data with the FSA and, as a result, they have validated our internal testing process. In line with the FSA, we test birds for different levels of contamination and give greatest focus on the highest level of contamination (>1,000 cfu/g). There were 49% fewer cases of birds contaminated at this level (Quarter One 2015 compared with Quarter One 2014).
Commenting on Aldi’s results, Steve Wearne, Director of Policy, Food Standards Agency said:
“This is very welcome news from Aldi and goes to show that campylobacter levels on chicken can be significantly reduced by a planned series of interventions across the food chain. People can be rightly pleased by these reductions because the simple fact is that the less campylobacter there is on chicken the fewer people will get ill. The FSA will of course continue to work closely with Aldi to ensure the levels of campylobacter on chicken reduce further.”
Our supplier, 2Sisters, is utilising a flock management technique known in the industry as “zero-thinning”. Data shared by 2Sisters and from our own independent testing show that this has a marked impact on the reduction in levels of Campylobacter. This, along with other projects, such as feed trials by Banham Poultry, indicate that there are many ways to reduce Campylobacter throughout the supply chain which we continue to work on with our suppliers. We are also the active sponsor of the Banham Poultry farmer incentive scheme. Aldi is an engaged member of the ACT Board which is looking Campylobacter reduction throughout the supply chain.
Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria that can be killed through thorough cooking. As well as addressing our own supply chain we believe that it is equally important to educate our consumers about safe preparation and cooking of chicken. To achieve this, Aldi has comprehensive on-pack cooking, handling and storage advice. We have also placed a “Do Not Wash” sticker on all whole birds. Another option available to customers is the option to purchase birds in oven-ready packaging which eliminates the need to handle the chicken until it is cooked.
* This is measured using the industry standard metric of colony forming units per gram (cfu/g), at the highest level (>1000 cfu/g). Owing to an increase in the testing sample in 2015, this figure has been calculated by taking the difference between the percentage of birds in each sample found to be contaminated in each of the two quarters. This represents a percentage point decrease of 7.5%, from 10.8% to 3.3%.
** This is measured using the industry standard metric of colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) and includes any instance ≥10 cfu/g. Owing to an increase in the testing sample in 2015, this figure has been calculated by taking the difference between the percentage of birds in each sample found to be contaminated in each of the two quarters. This represents a percentage point decrease of 51.2%, from 63.1% to 11.9%.