Knee jerk reaction over chicken
Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (Inc)
Calls for a ban on the sale of fresh chicken in New Zealand are a knee jerk reaction to unsubstantiated comments says Michael Brooks, executive director of the Poultry Industry Association (PIANZ).
New Zealand researchers Michael Baker and Nick Wilson have made comments not supported by their own findings, he says. The academics’ report says “there is no conclusively identified major cause of the increased Campylobacter incidence in New Zealand”.
Mr Brooks says New Zealanders know it is safe to eat properly cooked chicken - after all chicken consumption has been going up every year and last year they ate more than 37kg of it per person.
“Most people cook chicken well and eat it in a variety of ways with no effect other than enjoyment,” he says.
Reported rates of Campylobacter are high in New Zealand by world standards, the PIANZ chief agrees, but he points out farming methods and processing of poultry and the proportion of fresh production to frozen here are very similar to other countries.
“Consumption rates are similar too, so does New Zealand have higher rates because of its stricter reporting regime, or are there also other causes? “ Mr Brooks asks.
“Michael Baker provides no explanation from his three-year-old data as to why this difference arises, nor does the report provide evidence that banning the sale of fresh chicken will aid the issue.”
The New Zealand poultry industry continues to work closely with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority on a range of issues, including research and consumer education. It is important to remember that cooking Campylobacter kills the organism, Mr Brooks says.