Calls for warning labels on fresh chicken to combat deadly campylobacter outbreaks

There are renewed calls for warning labels on fresh chicken to help stop people getting infected by campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a nasty foodborne illness that can be deadly.

"We think about 55,000 people a year get sick from that source," said Professor Michael Baker, who warned "around 30 people die from it a year".

"It's a huge economic cost of $50 million a year. We can't afford dirty chicken anymore."

Prof Baker is calling for regulators to do more.

"Our regulators need to require everyone selling fresh poultry meat to have very big labels on it, saying this food is likely to be contaminated."

The Ministry of Primary Industries told Newshub it's not currently considering warning labels on fresh chicken, instead pointing to a recent Consumer Food Safety Insights survey that found the vast majority of consumers know that chicken is a higher-risk food.

It has also set a goal to reduce foodborne cases by a further 20 percent by the end of 2024.

But there are ways you can stop the spread yourself. The advice is to assume all raw poultry is covered in the bacteria, use a plastic chopping board that can go in the dishwasher, decontaminate everything the raw chicken has touched and of course, cook it very thoroughly.