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2 Sisters Food Group is doing more than any other food processor or retailer in leading the fight against campylobacter.

Updated April 2019

In 2015 we announced our Campylobacter multi-intervention plan, touching all stages of the supply chain from farm to end consumer, which aimed to reduce campylobacter levels at each stage, and provide industry insight into the best ways to tackle this naturally occurring bacteria. This was a £10m initiative, with contributions from our retail partners, into reducing campylobacter levels in poultry; far exceeding anything the sector had previously invested.

In 2017 we updated you on this plan, which included a further £5m investment in our factories, where we installed additional cold treatment interventions to supplement our existing heat interventions. This was combined with the focus on our farming base to ensure robust biosecurity and ensure our chicks were given the best environment to grow.

During the FSA survey, over this period, this is what we achieved.

Image for campylobacter rate 2019

Our farmers remain key to our success and maintaining a Campylobacter free environment in which to grow our chicken remains our top priority. In 2018 we have progressed well with this programme and, as a result of decreasing prevalence of the bacteria, have been able to concentrate activity on a farm by farm basis. We call it our Focus Farm Programme, and target specific control measures and corrective actions based on a farms previous performance. This is having a beneficial impact in further reducing Campylobacter prevalence within our agricultural estates.

We recognise however that it is impossible to maintain completely Campylobacter free flocks all of the time; so within our factories we continue to invest heavily in new interventions. In 2016, we were the first processor to install heat interventions to reduce Campylobacter in a process known as secondary scalding. This was a self-developed and cutting edge invention at the time and remains effective to this day.

In addition to the surface chilling technology implemented in 2017 that compliments the secondary scalding, there are now alternative heat interventions available. So we are currently exploring these various options, and conducting real-time trials in our factories, to determine their efficacy and see if they are more effective than our current secondary scalding equipment.

While all of this is happening, we continue to work with Government organisations and NGO’s to address the science gaps and lead the industry in gaining a further understanding of Campylobacter, its interaction with chickens on farms, in the environment, and on our poultry meat.

All of this work, encompassing our full supply chain, is being undertaken under what we call our ‘Campylobacter Task Force’ which is sponsored by our CEO, Ronald Kers, and where every discipline within our business is represented. This continues to demonstrate 2 Sisters commitment to reduce Campylobacter to the point at which it ceases to be a public health concern from consumption of our chicken.

The table below summarises our total performance.

Campylobacter tests >1,000 cfu / g

52 weeks

12 weeks

4 weeks

No. of tests

No. positive


No. of tests

No. positive


No. of tests

No. positive


Chickens *




















All Chicken **




* FSA Protocol
** Weighted average to reflect market split of 30% whole birds, 70% portions

This table summaries independent testing over the past four years.

FSA Numbers - Incidences > 1000

(95% confidence interval)

Survey Year 2 Sisters Industry
1 (2014/2015) 16.6 (15.0 - 18.3) 19.4 (18.2 - 20.7)
2 (2015/2016) 11.3 (9.7 - 13.0) 11.4 (10.3 - 12.6)
3 (2016/2017) 5.7 (4.7 - 6.8) 6.5 (5.6 - 7.3)
Q1 - Yr4* 4.0 (3.0 - 5.2) 4.9 (4.1 - 5.8)
Q2 - Yr4* 5.2 (4.1 - 6.5) 4.8 (4.0 - 5.7)
Q3 - Yr4* 3.9 (2.9 - 5.1) 4.3 (3.6 - 5.3)
Q4 - Yr4* 2.4 (1.5 - 3.5) 3.3 (2.6 - 4.2)

* Retailer self-reporting results, undertaken under the supervision of the FSA and in compliance with the FSA Campylobacter testing protocol