Andrew Wasley is an award-winning investigative journalist specialising in food & environment issues

Exclusive: At least 100 cases of salmonella poisoning from British eggs

Dozens of people have been poisoned after eating British eggs contaminated with one of the most dangerous forms of salmonella, the Bureau can reveal, despite government assurances that the risk had been virtually eliminated.
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Salmonella alert issued after 100 people infected by UK eggs in three years

The government has issued a salmonella warning after an investigation revealed that at least 100 people had been poisoned by British eggs in three years.
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Brazil sent one million salmonella-infected chickens to UK in two years

Brazil is the largest exporter of frozen chicken in the world, exporting $750m-worth of the meat to Europe last year. But about one in five of its birds are contaminated with the food poisoning bug salmonella.
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Livestock MRSA scandal

Revealed: MRSA variant found in British pork at Asda and Sainsbury's

Meat produced from British pigs has been shown to be infected with a livestock strain of MRSA, the Guardian can reveal, raising concerns that the UK is on the brink of another food scandal. Tests on a sample of 97 UK-produced pork products from supermarkets show that three – sold at Asda and Sainsbury’s – were contaminated with the superbug strain which can cause serious health problems.

Dirty chicken scandal

Food Standards Agency investigates poultry factories

The Food Standards Agency is investigating standards in some chicken-processing factories, after a Guardian investigation uncovered a catalogue of hygiene failings in the industry. The agency confirmed it was investigating the allegations made by whistleblowers to the Guardian about hygiene standards in specific factories relating to the spread of campylobacter bacteria - the most common form of food poisoning in the UK.

The Hidden Cost of Cheap Poultry

Supermarket chicken is making us sick, as the recent scandal over the spread of the potentially-deadly campylobacter bug revealed. But cheap poultry is also linked to poor conditions for some (mainly migrant) workers toiling in Britain's vast slaughterhouses and processing factories. Channel 4's latest Dispatches programme, Supermarkets: the real price of cheap food, highlights the plight of some Portuguese agency workers employed at a poultry processing plant in Suffolk.

Food safety in the meat sector

A two-year long investigation into how bad practices in abattoirs and meat processing plants put our health at risk 

Exclusive: "dirty meat" fear as EU proposes to reduce poultry inspections

Consumers could be put at increased risk from food poisoning illnesses if new measures currently being debated in Brussels are approved, according to meat inspectors. But experts are divided.
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Hundreds of pig carcasses destroyed after "dangerous" hygiene failings at meat plants

Hundreds of pig carcasses had to be destroyed after American officials discovered worrying hygiene failings at UK meat plants, the Bureau can reveal.
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Fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering food chain after 25% of abattoirs fail tests

One in four slaughterhouses are failing to take basic hygiene precautions to stop contaminated meat reaching high street butchers and supermarkets. An analysis of government audits carried out at more than 300 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland identified major hygiene failings in more than a quarter of the meat plants.
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Poultry antibiotics

Banned in America, soaring use in Britain: The poultry farm drugs that put human lives at risk

Antibiotics banned in US chicken farms a decade ago over links to the spread of potentially deadly bacteria in humans have been used in significantly increased quantities by Britain’s poultry industry, an investigation reveals today. Industry figures obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that UK poultry producers upped their use of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones by 59% in the latest 12-month reporting period...

Critically important to human health: What are fluoroquinolones?

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics were developed in the 1970s and first used in human medicine in the 1980s. The drugs are used for treating, amongst other conditions, human food poisoning illnesses such as campylobacter, salmonella and Ecoli. Because of their important role in treating severe cases of such infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified fluoroquinolones as being “critically important” to human healthcare, and said that reducing the use of the substances on livestock...

Poultry farmers 'are using antibiotics linked to food poisoning bugs'

Antibiotics that were banned on US chicken farms a decade ago over links to the spread of potentially deadly bacteria in humans are being used in significantly increased quantities by the British poultry industry, an investigation has revealed. Industry figures obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that UK poultry producers raised their use of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones by 59 per cent in the latest 12-month reporting period.
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Antibiotics in farming

Use of ‘last hope’ antibiotic soaring in English hospitals

Use of the ‘last hope’ antibiotic colistin - one of the few options left that can save lives when infections have become resistant to all other drugs - has soared in English hospitals, with experts blaming a rise in superbugs. Prescriptions of colistin, which doctors use when infections stop responding to all other antibiotics, rose by 40% between 2014 and 2015, show figures obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Exclusive: Minister floats tax on antibiotics to tackle drug resistance crisis

The danger to human health from the world’s antibiotic resistance crisis is “a much more troubling train wreck” than even the great financial crash of 2008, former Goldman Sachs chief and now UK minister Lord Jim O’Neill has warned. Speaking exclusively to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Lord O’Neill, who was handpicked by David Cameron to examine the issue for the government in 2014, said there was an urgent need for industry leaders and consumers to “change mindsets”.

Resistance to key antibiotic used in dangerous food poisoning cases now at record levels

Resistance to a key antibiotic used in the treatment of serious food poisoning cases has reached its highest level for a decade, new figures obtained by the Bureau suggest. Previously unpublished data collated by Public Health England shows that almost one in two of all human campylobacter cases tested in England for resistance to ciprofloxacin – one of several drugs doctors turn to when victims of the food poisoning bug develop complications – returned positive results.

Get the data: Rising sales of critically important antibiotics

Not all antibiotics are equal. According to the World Health Organization, some classes of antibiotic are so medically important they’ve labelled them “critically important antibiotics”. If an antibiotic is critically important it means it’s the only way, or one of few alternatives, of treating a serious infectious disease in humans. On top of that, it’s also an antibiotic that treats either diseases humans can catch from non-human sources (animals, water, food or the environment).

Investors urge fast food and pub chains to act to reduce farm antibiotics

A group of powerful City investors who together control more than $1tn in assets have written to leading fast food, pub and restaurant chains urging them to take immediate action to reduce antibiotic use in their meat and poultry supply chains. The financiers, including Aviva Investors, Strathclyde Pension Fund and Coller Capital, are particularly concerned about the use of antibiotics classified as “critically important” to human health and the routine use of drugs on factory farms to prevent disease.

Antibiotics: end the secrecy around drug use on farms

For more than 18 months I and colleagues have been investigating the use of antibiotics in livestock farming and its links to the growing health crisis surrounding drug-resistance. The main findings – including revelations that pork on sale in UK supermarkets is contaminated with an MRSA superbug connected to the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms – have been well documented and prompted calls for urgent action to avert a potential epidemic.
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