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25 Percent of UK Slaughterhouses Fail Hygiene Standards

An investigation uncovers that one in four meat products on supermarket shelves may be contaminated with a host of disease-causing bacteria.

UK media organization The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) recently uncovered that one in four UK slaughterhouses failed to meet basic sanitation standards. BIJ carried out an analysis of government audits at 323 slaughterhouses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and found that 86 of the facilities allowed meat with E. Coli, salmonella, and campylobacter bacterial strains to be sold to the public. Furthermore, BIJ found that slaughterhouse employees falsified records to conceal contaminated meat in order to pass Food Agency Standards (FSA). Violations included contact between animal carcasses and dirty floors, improper sterilization of equipment, and contamination caused by water tainted with fecal matter. “If it was one in 100 even, that would be too many, but one in four is unacceptable,” UK microbiology professor Hugh Pennington said. “This is basic hygiene. It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense.” A separate study conducted last November by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Public Health in England found that 78 percent of chicken products sold at convenience stores, butchers, and supermarkets across the UK contained an antibiotic resistant strain of E. Coli.

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