The UK's National Farmers' Union has hit back at claims made by the newspaper The Sunday Times that the UK poultry industry is not taking Campylobacter seriously. 

The article claims that research to be published by the UK Food Standards Agency will show that half a million people annually are getting food poisoning as a result of eating contaminated British chicken. It continues that Campylobacter is claiming 140 lives annually and that at least 80 percent of British chicken flocks are infected with the bacterium, with poor slaughter practices spreading it further.

Michael Bailey, National Farmers' Union Poultry Board vice-chairman and Joint Working Group on Campylobacter member, has written to The Sunday Times, saying that the claim that the poultry industry is not taking Campylobacter seriously is untrue.

He continues that all parties within the chicken production supply chain are working together to reduce the amount of Campylobacter in chicken. 

He adds that there is no silver bullet for Campylobacter, but that a significant amount of research is being a carried out to help understand more about Campylobacter and its reduction.

Farmers are playing their part by taking steps on farm to reduce infection levels, while chicken processors are looking at new techniques for use in slaughterhouses.