“The world is watching with interest, and while we can’t say the problem has been solved, we’re pleased the way things are going,” says executive director Andrew McKenzie. “Campylobacter
and the illness it causes is a problem in many countries and New Zealand’s battle against it is at the forefront of knowledge of this bacterium.”
New Zealand has been acknowledged for some time as having among the highest recorded cases of campylobacteriosis in the developed world, however, the reasons for the high rates are unclear. The strategy of the NZFSA is to reduce the numbers of Campylobacter found on chickens.
In 2006, a FAO/WHO group began looking into the issue and New Zealand was asked to lead, with Sweden, the development of a new international code of hygiene.
McKenzie says the NZFSA strategy is showing some areas of early promise. “We have said all along that there is no simple answer and our research, as well as international experience, is bearing this out. A data collection process for monitoring of the prevalence of Campylobacter in flocks and on carcases is in place and is giving us a robust base to measure the effectiveness of the real-world interventions that are made. Without this, it’s impossible to determine what works effectively in a commercial environment.”