Can You Get Food Poisoning From Supermarket Chicken?

Can You Get Food Poisoning From Supermarket Chicken?

The short answer to this question is unfortunately yes- but you can take steps to prevent this happening?

Why am I at risk from Supermarket Chicken?

There has been much press coverage recently about the risk of campylobacter poisoning from supermarket chickens. To cut a long story short the chickens are being put at risk of contamination by the process that leads to the chicken ending up in  the supermarket chiller cabinets for sale.

What is the Problem and Why is it Not being sorted out by the Supermarkets?

A recent study by a Government Adviser and safety expert concluded one of the main issues is the way that chicken are ‘thinned’ whilst being produced for slaughter

Thinning is the process where the farm workers go to the chicken sheds on a regular basis to remove the larger birds which have reached their slaughter weight.

The study showed that every time this happens there is a risk of contamination by any campylobacter affected birds (and their faeces) each time a worker enters the sheds.

How Can the Problem of Thinning be Solved?

The Safety adviser indicates that supermarkets do not object to their producers using the process because it allows them to pack as many birds into a small space as possible and also allows uniformity of bird weight- and thus easier to package.

However, supermarkets that have stopped their producers ‘thinning’ have reduced contamination levels. If this was introduced across the board there would be a substantial reduction in campylobacter risk.

Why Are All Supermarkets Not Doing the Same?

Supermarkets are unfortunately reluctant to bring in the changes in production required because of the price involved. It has been estimated that each chicken would cost on average about 10p more if the process were altered to stop ‘thinning’. There is a supermarket price war- no supermarket wishes to lose the competitive advantage even at these small margins.

So the British Public is being put at risk of campylobacter poisoning because of the supermarkets battling for ever greater market share.

What Can I do To Avoid Food Poisoning?

Even with the problems identified above the risks can be lessened when preparing chicken simply by making sure that you use food that is in date and ensure that you wash your hands fully after touching fresh chicken. And make sure it is fully cooked before eating- particularly if the chicken has been frozen before.

Further details on this can be obtained on

What Can I do If I think I have Food Poisoning ?

Early medical advice is vital. If you believe that the food poisoning has been caused by a particular supplier of food or a restaurant or takeaway if possible keep the receipt to prove purchase. Then speak to a specialist Solicitor.

For free initial advice please call 01535 958 778, email us, or use the contact form on this page.
We want to ensure that you get every penny of the compensation you are entitled to as quickly and efficiently as possible.