In response to story about E coli in chicken, 21 November 2016

In response to a new story about E coli in chicken, RUMA refers to the official Government response.

A Government spokesperson said:

“This study by Public Health England concluded that this type of E. coli does not represent a major public health risk in the UK – a view supported by the Food Standards Agency.

“As ever, cooking meat properly kills all bacteria, whether or not it is resistant to antibiotics.

“We take both food safety and antibiotic resistance very seriously. This is why we support the work of the FSA to make sure our food is safe, and why we are working with countries around the world to reduce antibiotic use in people and animals.”

Background on antibiotic use in animals

  • This study is important for improving our knowledge of the development of antibiotic resistance and how it can spread.
  • Sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK are at a four-year low, dropping 10% between 2014 and 2015, putting the UK on track to meet ambitious targets to tackle antibiotic resistance, according to the latest VARSS (Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance) report.
  • Between 2014 and 2015 the British Poultry Council, which represents 90% of meat poultry, reported a 27% reduction in overall antibiotic use. It reported significant reductions in the use of high priority critically important antibiotics, with a 52% drop in use of fluoroquinolones and zero use of 3rd & 4th generation cephalosporins.
  • Veterinary use of the Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics remains low, representing just over 1% of all antibiotics sold for use in animals in 2015. This includes a 3% reduction in fluoroquinolones and an 11% reduction in 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins.

Background on the FSA

 The Food Standards Agency work closely with the food industry, from farm to fork, to reduce the risk of foodborne disease and ensure the food we buy and eat is safe.