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We were recently contacted by the producers of a television programme for comment on frozen chicken bought from our Comaro Crossing Food Lover’s Market store.  They tested the chicken for various bacteria etc. and had found that for one of the tests, namely for Coliform, the count was somewhat elevated.  We have done our own investigation and review of the analysis performed by them and are pleased to confirm that the frozen chicken supplied to the public by our Comaro Crossing store is both fully traceable and does NOT pose a food safety risk to our customers.  We stress that there is no cause for concern, particularly as the chicken would, in any event, be cooked and any Coliform present would be destroyed.   We deal with what a Coliform is below.

However, to reassure ourselves that our interpretation is correct we engaged the services of external food technologists who again confirmed that the analysis results do not indicate that the chicken is a risk to the consumer at all and once cooked is perfectly edible and indeed of good quality.

During our investigation, we established that the particular batch of frozen chicken in question is a locally produced product and had inadvertently been bagged as a product of Brazil.  This was due to human error at the store level and we have now both ensured that the entire batch is corrected and also put in place the processes to make sure that this does not happen again.  All the necessary checks and balances are in place and our supply chain is fully compliant.

Need to know more?  We have answered some questions for you.

Q: What are Coliforms and should we be concerned about it?

A: Coliform is a group of bacteria found in most uncooked meat. It is not categorised as in any way dangerous and poses no health threat or risk to consumers.  It is however important that chicken must always be cooked before consumption and any normal cooking process will destroy Coliform.

Q: How did we interpret the results sent to us?

A: Standard micro-analysis was done, testing for bacteria. Both an internal and external Food Lover’s Market food technologist had a look at the results and we are certain that there is no “bad bacteria” present, that is bacteria which could give rise to illness or injury.  As a result, there is no cause for concern.  While there is no legal microbiological standard for raw poultry meat in South Africa, all the results were within the accepted industry standards.

Q: Supply chain – are our suppliers properly vetted and certified and is the product fully traceable?

A: We have evaluated our supply chain and we can confirm that our suppliers and distributors are fully compliant and have been certified by external certification bodies, this from manufacturing through to store level.

Millennium Meats is the chicken distributor in question.  They are in possession of a valid FSA Level B certification, which has been administered by Intertek, an internationally recognised inspection and certification body.

Millennium obtained the chicken from a company called CC Chicken.  CC Chicken, in turn, are in possession of a GFSI Global Markets Capacity Building Program Intermediate Level certification which was issued by another international certification body called ISC Global South Africa.

Q: Was the product subject to a proper cold chain from manufacturer to store?

A: We have inspected the records and are happy that the correct procedures were followed by both CC Chicken and Millennium Meats. We also have documentation that the cold chain was maintained throughout.

Q: Is the frozen chicken from Food Lover’s Market safe to purchase, cook and eat?

A: Absolutely. We have made sure that we have followed all proper procedures and that the product is completely safe for the consumer to cook and eat.