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Thread: Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

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    Default Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

    Eat fresh chicken before it's banned
    16 August 2006 ?
    By JOANNA DAVIS

    Frozen chickens may soon be the only option available to supermarket shoppers. The poultry industry is under increasing pressure to sell only frozen produce after a Food Safety Authority (FSA) report showed all fresh carcasses carried the bug that causes the gut-wrenching campylobacteriosis disease.

    New Zealanders ate more than 37kg of chicken a person last year. The FSA report showed the country also had more than three times the rate of notified campylobacteriosis of Australia. The rate of 370 cases a 100,000 people has been rising at about 12 per cent a year over the past five years.

    Over the past nine years, 11 people are thought to have died of the disease. In most cases it causes diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach ache for up to a week.

    Public Health Association director Gay Keating said banning the sale of fresh chicken sounded like a drastic measure but was necessary 'if we are to address New Zealand's dubious distinction of being the campylobacter centre of the world'.

    'It's not acceptable to sell a food that is heavily contaminated with bacteria that is making thousands of New Zealanders sick each month and sending many to hospital.'

    Green Party MP Sue Kedgley called for mandatory testing of raw poultry and strict requirements for the industry to 'clean-up its act or face financial penalties'.

    Kedgley, who proposed an immediate ban on the sale of fresh chicken, said the FSA had failed in its duty to protect consumers.

    'One of the key objectives of the authority is to ensure that all food produced, marketed or distributed in New Zealand meets the highest standards of food hygiene and safety. Questions need to be asked about why it is failing so abysmally in its mandate.'

    Canterbury has had an increase in reported cases of campylobacteriosis in the past year. On average, about 140 cases a month were notified this year.

    Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks, whose organisation represents the three main poultry companies, Tegel, Inghams and Brinks, said a ban on fresh chicken had 'negligible support' within the industry.

    He suggested New Zealand's high infection rates were due to its strict notifying regime as farming and processing methods were similar to those of other countries.

    He said cooking chicken properly killed campylobacter.

    'Most people cook chicken well and eat it in a variety of ways with no effect other than enjoyment,' he said.

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    Default Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

    At least they seem to be aware of the problem. There have been a lot of chicken scares in the past, so it really is prudent to freeze or be scrupulously clean.

    What I can't understand is why fresh chickens are so expensive here ... I have only bought two since I have been here as they are about the same price as a tasty hot cooked one from the deli counter.

    :icon_neutral:
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    Default Re: Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

    What I can't understand is why fresh chickens are so expensive here ... I have only bought two since I have been here as they are about the same price as a tasty hot cooked one from the deli counter.
    It's the same here, Glenda. We can't understand how they can justify the cost of raw chicken compared to the price of a cooked one.

    Meanwhile, the row still rages on.....

    Health academics call for ban on sale of fresh chicken
    13 October 2006

    A group of health academics has called for a ban on the sale of fresh chicken following a spike in campylobacter infections.

    Their report, published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal, said there were 800 hospitalisations each year from campylobacter and research suggested chicken was responsible for most infections.

    The "epidemic" peaked in May with a record 400 notifications per 100,000 people. The report said campylobacter rates in New Zealand were three times higher than in Australia and 30 times higher than in the United States. The problem was costing the country about $75 million a year.

    "The obvious control measure is to swiftly remove fresh chicken from the food supply and only reintroduce it when it can be shown to pose a very low risk to human health," the report said. "Frozen chicken (or other processed forms with reduced contamination levels) could be substituted, in the interim, to allow continued consumption of this popular food."

    Taking precautions in the handling of chicken was also important.

    The academics' research showed the consumption rate of fresh chicken had increased from 4kg per person annually in 1981 to 30kg in 2005, coinciding with the increase in campylobacter rates.

    Food Safety Authority representative Tim Knox said the campylobacter rates were concerning, but a combination of measures across the food chain were needed to reduce risks. "There is no silver bullet solution to this issue," he told National Radio.

    The authority was developing a risk management strategy aimed at reducing campylobacter levels in chicken meat with intervention measures at all levels from the farm, to processing, to the consumer.

    Mr Knox said consumers played a vital part in the chain by ensuring chicken was carefully handled and cooked properly.

    Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said he would review the New Zealand Medical Journal report before commenting.

    The association has in the past said claims about campylobacter increases being blamed on chicken were unsubstantiated and calling for a ban on the sale of fresh chicken was a "knee-jerk" reaction.

    - NZPA

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    Default Re: Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

    I don't know about anyone else, but I was raised to cook chicken well and not eat it if it had sat around at room temperature for a while. Safer handling from "farm" to customer will help, but blaming and banning fresh chicken outright? Perhaps they should ban kitchen counters, which contain all kinds of nasty bacteria if not cleaned properly. Theirs definitely seems to be a knee-jerk reaction.
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    Default Re: Eat fresh chicken before it's banned

    Australian drought to hit chicken prices
    9.00am Thursday November 2, 2006

    New Zealanders are about to feel the impact of Australia's big drought as grain prices across the Tasman soar by as much as 80 per cent.

    Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said the chicken meat industry would be hit "in a major way".

    "The astronomical increase in the cost of imported grain is just too great for the industry to absorb and prices of chicken will have to increase."
    -
    - NZ Herald
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