The UK’s consumer association, Which?, has carried out an investigation into bacterial contamination of whole chickens and chickens portions. Of the 192 samples tested from nine supermarkets, 18 percent were contaminated with Campylobacter, 17 percent were contaminated with Listeria and 1.5 percent also tested positive for Salmonella.

In advising consumers, Which? has recommended that consumers cook chicken thoroughly, and make sure that it is properly wrapped and stored at a cold enough temperature. The association also notes that it is important not to wash raw chicken, as this could splash bacteria onto the sink, worktops or nearby dishes.

“While the situation is improving, it is still unacceptable that one in five chickens we tested were found to be contaminated with Campylobacter," said Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director. "We want to see the risk of contamination minimized at every stage of production, because for far too long consumers have been expected to clean up the mistakes made earlier in the supply chain.”

The British Poultry Council noted the Which? report which makes clear that chicken is a safe and healthy product when properly cooked. "This new survey shows a big reduction in Campylobacter presence on chicken, demonstrating the effectiveness of the biosecurity measures being taken by producers and processors against this naturally occurring bacteria which is present in all live animals," said Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council. “The British poultry industry is committed to working with consumer groups, government and retailers to ensure chicken is safe and healthy.”