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The Government and the contaminated chicken: When safety takes a back seat

A troubling series of events surrounding contaminated chicken, the lapse in food safety regulation, the Government’s lack of timely action and poor communication, and the continuing public health threat that is far from over.



The Government and the contaminated chicken: When safety takes a back seat

A troubling series of events surrounding contaminated chicken, the lapse in food safety regulation, the Government’s lack of timely action and poor communication, and the continuing public health threat that is far from over.

T he UK government allowed companies linked to a severe salmonella outbreak to keep providing supermarkets with chicken, even when lives were at risk. Despite warnings and evidence, the authorities and ministers chose not to halt supplies, putting the health of countless people in jeopardy.

Imagine sitting down for a family meal and thinking you’re eating something safe and healthy, only to find out later that the chicken on your plate could make you severely sick or worse. This nightmare became a reality for many UK families.

Between 2020 and 2021, a major salmonella outbreak was spreading across the UK, making hundreds sick and claiming four lives.

“Investigations have been and continue to be undertaken back to farm level in Poland. While some batches of these poultry products share some common food operators in the food chain, more than one supplier has been identified and multiple farm-level producers have also been identified. Investigations are ongoing in Poland to identify which farm-level sources have led to the outbreaks.”

— A Food Standards Agency spokesperson explained at the time

Despite the alarming number of victims of the outbreak, George Eustice, who was the environment minister at the time, chose not to impose any restrictions on the companies supplying the contaminated meat.

George Eustice.



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