Please don’t forget about food hygiene!

Meat packaging on a supermarket fridge shelf
Written by Paul Morris MBE
Founder, Addmaster (UK) Ltd.

In this recent article also published in The Times newspaper, Paul Morris, Addmaster Founder & CEO, talks about the forgotten danger of food packaging and why safety must be put before profit.

This year Addmaster turned 20 years old. In that time, the company's antimicrobial developments, which started out in healthcare primarily to help reduce MRSA in hospitals, have enetered every sector of our lives.

We now export nearly 70% of our antimicrobial additives and the demand for the Biomaster brand on products is stronger than ever.

In recent years, we saw a big uplift in enquiries related to food packaging, many of them related specifically to the dangers of Campylobacter.

Campylobacteriosis is by far the biggest form of food poisoning in the UK and is the cause of more than 400,000 cases every year.

In 2014 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) highlighted the fact that over 70% of chicken sold by UK retailers contained Campylobacter. 7% of the outer packaging was also contaminated. 

The FSA asked the retailers to clean up their act.

The FSA 2016 report did show a reduction down to 50% inside the pack and 5% on the outside and the level of food poisoning cases started to drop.

However, the FSA, under pressure from producers and retailers not to frighten consumers into avoiding chicken, then dropped the outer packaging warning. 

According to extrapolated British Poultry Council Figures, this meant over 10,000,000 packs had a high level of contamination that could cause Campylobacter poisoning

Since dropping this warning on the outer pack, from 2017 cases of Campylobacteriosis have steadily risen to the level it was pre 2014.

The Times article discusses our work in this area, and how poultry producers feel that as little as 0.25p per chicken is too much cost to protect the public.

What also surprised me is that the other companies mentioned in the article claim they have a breakthrough product.

In fact, we have been offering our solution for over five years. It is only the lack of interest from retailers that has misled the public into believing that it’s a completely new idea.

Importantly, we have used a technology that is already registered with the regulatory bodies for antibacterial use and food contact. Unlike some of the very new technologies that will need to go through the expensive registration of a new additive, we are ready to go!

In this post-Covid world, the protection of product packaging from microbes may decide which brands flourish, and which fall by the wayside. 

Since March 2020, incoming enquires about Biomaster antimicrobial technology have increased tenfold. At the same time, we have seen a similar rise in demand from global Blue Chip brands for hygienic coatings.  

So it saddens me to see that food producers and retailers haven’t yet adopted a very simple solution to address Campylobacter poisoning.

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