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What if Campylobacter were counted to us

New publication of SECALIM

What if Campylobacter were counted to us
Quantification of Campylobacter contamination in chicken carcasses in France

Campylobacter is a pathogenic bacterium which is the leading cause of foodborne gastroenteritis. Chicken meat is the main vector of Campylobacter contamination. Since 2017, European poultry industry manufacturers must submit to new microbiological criteria *: chicken carcasses must have a contamination of less than 1000 CFU (Colony Forming Unit) of Campylobacter per gram. In this context, it is important to know precisely the Campylobacter contamination on chicken carcasses.
The objective of this study was to quantify the level of contamination of chicken carcasses at the end of the PT (cooling step) in several French slaughterhouses, using innovative statistical tools.
Five hundred and thirty data including censored data (concentration below a threshold of 10 CFU / g) were analyzed, and several factors were considered: the method of raising the chickens (standard versus certified), the month and the location of sampling (neck skin versus thigh skin).
The location of the sampling as well as the time period were found to have a significant effect on the level of Campylobacter contamination. Contamination was higher on the neck skin than on the thigh skin and for the period from June to December: average of 2.6 [2.4; 2.8] log10 (CFU / g) on ​​the neck and 1.8 [1.5; 2.0] log10 (CFU / g) on ​​the thigh. On the other hand, no conclusion could be drawn concerning the influence of the breeding method.
The probability of exceeding the regulatory criterion of 1000 CFU / g (i.e. 3 log10 CFU / g) was estimated at 35.3% and 12.6%, respectively for the neck and thigh.
This precise quantification should allow manufacturers to adapt their processes and hygienic practices in order to best meet regulatory requirements.

* (RÈGLEMENT (UE) 2017/1495)

See also

Duqué, B., Daviaud, S., Guillou, S., Haddad, N., & Membré, J.-M. (In Press) Quantification of Campylobacter jejuni contamination on chicken carcasses in France. Food Research International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2017.12.017