AIMS has accused the Food Standards Agency of continuing to ’undermine the meat industry’ with ’misleading’ campylobacter figures
The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) has claimed the Food Standards Agency (FSA) ’appears to continue to undermine the meat processing sector’ with misleading campylobacter figures.
An article in The Meat Trades Journal quoted figures published on the Food Standards Agency website stated campylobacter was believed to cause 100 deaths a year.
However, AIMS pointed out the figure was an extract from a FSA funded paper which said ’We could not estimate deaths attributable to foodborne illness, due to the lack of reliable data sources on pathogen-specific mortality rates’.
AIMS head of policy, Norman Bagley, said: "Selectively quoting from its own commissioned report on its own website has once again undermined the excellent work and progress the industry has made on combating campylobacter.
"Stating that campylobacter causes 100 deaths a year is just not based on science and leads to continuing scary, misleading stories being carried in both the trade and consumer media, which once again, undermines our sector.
"This is far from helpful and needs to stop."
Earlier this month, the meat industry wrote to Theresa May to complain following a tweet from FSA promoting meat free week as it believes FSA has ’acted outside its remit to the detriment of British meat producers and processors on several occasions’.
A FSA spokesman said: "We explain on our website that the campylobacter deaths figure is a previous estimate, and that we are continuing to analyse the full impact that campylobacter has.
"We are determining which updated figures to use in the future.
"Over the past five years we have been using our sampling data to expose the levels of campylobacter, because this dangerous but naturally occurring pathogen on poultry in the UK is the leading cause of food poisoning.
"Helping consumers understand the risks, working with producers and retailers, setting targets for reduction, sharing knowledge and data, pushing everybody them to work together to find new ways of doing things, we have reduced campylobacter to a level that they said wasn't possible five years ago.
"Next year thousands fewer people will get seriously ill because of the work we've all done."