News update:Jan 12, 2010

Chile: Campylobacter study at broiler plants

A recent study aimed to evaluate the occurrence of thermotolerant Campylobacter (among the more prevalent bacterial pathogens that cause foodborne diseases) contamination in chicken carcasses and processing plant stations (chilling water, scalding water, defeathering machinery, evisceration machine, and transport crates) in 2 of the Chilean main slaughterhouses.

In addition, the isolation rates of thermotolerant Campylobacter during evisceration and following chiller processing were compared.

The overall slaughterhouse contamination with thermotolerant Campylobacter was 54%. Differences were evident when the results from each plant were compared (plant A and plant B was 72% and 36%, respectively). The sampling points with the greatest contamination rates in both plants were after evisceration (90% and 54%, for plants A and B respectively). The decrease of thermotolerant Campylobacter contamination after chilling was significant (2 and 1.6 logs for plant A and B respectively P<0.05).

"Our findings indicate that chilling process has a limited effect in the final products Campylobacter contamination because poultry enter the slaughter processing with high counts of contamination. This may represent a health risk to consumers, if proper cooking practices are not employed. The levels and frequencies of Campylobacter found during the processing of Chilean poultry appear to be similar to those reported elsewhere in the world," BMC Microbiology quoted the researchers as saying.

Click here for the provisional report.

Source: BMC Microbiology

Natalie Berkhout

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