The food industry must take the lead in controlling campylobacter levels and must be clear on what its responsibilities are, according to a recent meeting between the UK's National Farmers Union Poultry Board and Catherine Brown, chief executive of the country's Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Yet the FSA must also play its part, she said, particularly in areas such as research, developing technology and consumer education. Working in partnership with the industry would be key in tackling the organism. Brown called on the industry to share data more regularly and to be transparent as a way of learning from each other, to show what is working and what is not. She said that biosecurity had a key role to play in controlling campylobacter, while recognizing that consistent adherence to a strict biosecurity schedule is a challenge and not without cost.
"We are grateful that [Brown] met with the board as part of ongoing discussions on how the industry can work together in an attempt to reduce or eradicate the problem of campylobacter in the poultry industry," said NFU Poultry Board chairman Duncan Smith. "It was quite clear that she understood the frustrations of farmers who are doing all they can to continually improve on-farm biosecurity measures, measures which sometimes fail to halt an increase in flock breakdowns."
The European Commission is to examine campylobacter across all member states in 2014 and will almost certainly legislate for control of the bacteria.