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Performance objective and consumer health: application to Campylobacter in the poultry food chain

PO & campylo
© Kateryna Kon/
An assessment of consumer exposure to Campylobacter that takes into account strain variability and cell history

Microbial risk assessment of food is one of the expertise of UMR SECALIM. Predictive microbiology is used to quantify the growth and inactivation of microorganisms using mathematical models and to assess the microbiological risks associated with pathogenic bacteria in food. Campylobacter jejuni is one of the major foodborne pathogens and broiler meat is considered to be the major source of campylobacteriosis in humans.
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of the heating and cooling steps applied during the poultry slaughter process on the ability of C. jejuni to subsequently survive on the end-product in the consumer's refrigerator. The objective was thus to predict the level of contamination of C. jejuni before preparation and consumption at home, taking into account this cellular history, then to test the conformity of the predicted level in relation to a value not to be exceeded at the end of the food process, known as the performance objective (PO), the theoretical value of which is determined by a group of international experts. Chicken fillets inoculated with three strains of C. jejuni were heated, refrigerated, then conditioned under a modified atmosphere and stored at 6 ° C until the use-by date. The results showed that the cellular history linked to the application of these different processing steps, conditioned and influenced the behavior of bacteria differently depending on the strain. Predictions taking this variability into account showed that ready-to-cook chicken meat complied with the PO set for the meat before it reached the consumer. This study paves the way for an assessment of the risks associated with C. jejuni in poultry meat that takes into account the cellular history and more particularly the process steps, which may influence the behavior of the pathogen in the consumer's home.

Associated publication:

Duqué, B., J. Canon, N. Haddad, S. Guillou and J.-M. Membré 2021. Quantitative approach to assess the compliance to a performance objective (PO) of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry meat in France. International Journal of Food Microbiology 336: 108916. .

Partners :

This study was carried out by UMR INRAE ​​of the Center Pays de la Loire, SECALIM within the framework of the BIOMICS project carried by the West Agronomic Pole with the financial support of the Brittany and Pays de la Loire regions.