The British Poultry Council (BPC) has called for every single load of poultry products and feed coming into the UK from Poland to be checked, amid a rise in cases of food poisoning from salmonella.
The council welcomed the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) reminder to consumers to take care when handling and cooking poultry products at home, including chilled and frozen chicken and turkey drumsticks, breasts, thighs and chicken pieces.
The FSA issued the reminder due to a rise in cases of salmonella food poisoning linked to poultry products imported from Poland.
BPC chief executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “We have long established and rigorous processes to deal with salmonella, and we follow these to the letter to produce food that people trust and value.
“It is disappointing that Poland are unable to do the same, and are willing to export their hygiene problems instead of dealing with them.
“It is positive to see the FSA highlight the importance of introducing full import controls on food and feed coming into the UK from the EU.
“It is vital that controls on imports are introduced as a matter of justice to British poultry meat businesses upholding the standards that define our production system.”
Griffiths said controls protect consumers and businesses from the risks posed by imports produced to lower standards, and that the sooner they are fully implemented, the better.
“In the meantime we want to see authorities stopping to check every single load that comes in from Poland, and rejecting those that do not meet requirements,” he said.
The salmonella prevention advice of the FSA is to:
- Follow cooking and storage instructions on the product label, including the cooking time and temperature;
- Use or freeze products by their use-by date;
- Wash hands thoroughly after handling raw poultry products;
- Never wash raw poultry products;
- Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot soapy water after contact with raw poultry;
- Only reheat cooked and frozen meat once.
The FSA said an investigation is ongoing into multiple strains of salmonella linked to poultry products imported to the UK from Poland.
There have been over 200 human cases of salmonellosis caused by specific genetic strains of salmonella enteritidis that have been linked to poultry products such as meat and eggs, this year.
“The FSA is in discussion with officials in Poland and the EU to ensure all necessary steps are taken to improve the safety of poultry and eggs imported from Poland,” the FSA said.
“The forthcoming import controls on food and feed coming into the UK from the EU will also allow us to check these controls are in place and help to uphold the UK’s high food and feed standards and to protect public health.”