By Daniel Hunter
The Campylobachter bug has infected more than 70% of fresh chickens being sold in the UK, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Asda was found to have the highest rate of infected chickens with 78% of its stock contaminated. Campylobachter was found in 64% of chickens.
In terms of high-levels of Campylobachter, Asda also faired worst with 28% of the chickens tested. Tesco also came out best on that test with just 11% of its chicken testing positive for high-levels of the bug.
Initial FSA tests suggested that the overall contamination rate was 59%.
It's the first time that the FSA has named individual retailers in an attempt to boost foods safety standards. It said that there is "still a long way to go" until the public is sage, but stressed that Campylobachter is usually killed off during cooking.
The bug is the single biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK, infecting nearly 300,000 people a year and causing around 100 deaths.
"We take campylobacter seriously and it goes without saying that we're disappointed with these findings," said an Asda spokesperson.
"There is no 'silver bullet' to tackle this issue, but along with other retailers, we're working hard to find a solution."
Asda is currently developing on a solution which would kill the bug during processing.
The FSA is set to carry out further tests on the supermarkets, as well and smaller retailers and butchers.
There is not yet any indication of the financial cost to retailers.
Andrew Opie, Director Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Today’s figures are an important reminder that we have not yet found a way to prevent the presence of Campylobachter in raw chicken and supermarkets are working even harder to find solutions to help consumers such as leak-proof packaging for all raw chicken and new roast in the bag products — this is our top priority for food safety.
“We are committed to continuing the search for a solution to Campylobacter and we support the work of the FSA to get clear advice to consumers about proper cooking and kitchen hygiene."
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