High-level campylobacter prevalence (>1000cfu/g) among the nine retailers surveyed by the FSA was 5%, compared to 7.8% in January – March 2016. Marks and Spencer, Morrisons and Waitrose had significantly lower levels (2.5% – 2.8%) compared to the average and to smaller retailers and butchers where the average was 16.9%. There was a slight reduction (50% – 48.8%) in chicken skin samples that tested positive for campylobacter at any level compared to the same period last year.
However, there is no room for complacency as 7% of chickens surveyed still tested positive for the highest level of contamination. It is also possible that people feeding raw diets may also buy chicken from smaller outlets, believing it to be healthier and there is no control over the source of raw chickens in commercially prepared diets.
The reduction in the level of campylobacter whilst welcome, does not negate the very real dangers of raw feeding for dogs, not least in respect of other pathogens, inbalance of nutrients in the long-term and the mechanical damage caused by ingesting and excreting bone fragments.