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A group of bacteria, the most common of which appears in animal products - particularly poultry. It"s thought to be present in as many as one in ten supermarket chickens. But it"s a naturally-occurring organism, and almost impossible to eradicate completely.

Marks & Spencer recently did tests on 100,000 chickens, and 19 out of 20 were salmonella free; while tests on 42,000 eggs showed the bug had virtually been eliminated. Sainsbury and Tesco say that they have reduced bacteria levels in chicken to under 3 per cent. Asda likewise, says it has cut the incidence from around 20 per cent in 1995 to about 3 per cent now.

If poisoned the symptoms are characterised by stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, and headache. It can be fatal in elderly people, but others usually recover after a few days without antibiotics. See 'Food poisoning'

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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