Category Archives: Campylobacter

Research – Campylobacter, the bacterium that causes most foodborne outbreaks in Spain

World Nation News

There were 11,244 cases of Campylobacteriosis in 2021, almost double the 6,891 cases reported in 2020

Campylobacter is the bacterium that causes most gastrointestinal infections in humans. According to the latest report on zoonotic diseases (infections from animals to humans) published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Campylobacter was the most common cause of infection in the EU accounting for 62% of the cases registered in 2021. and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In Spain, there were 11,244 cases of campylobacteriosis in 2021, almost double the 6,891 cases recorded in 2020. The incidence of this bacterium has a marked seasonal pattern, with the highest figures being found in summer, with a rebound in January. The most frequently implicated food as confirmed by the Consumers’ and Users’ Organization (OCU) is poultry meat (turkey and chicken).

Research – Microbiological safety of aged meat

EFSA

Abstract

The impact of dry‐ageing of beef and wet‐ageing of beef, pork and lamb on microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria was examined and current practices are described. As ‘standard fresh’ and wet‐aged meat use similar processes these were differentiated based on duration. In addition to a description of the different stages, data were collated on key parameters (time, temperature, pH and aw) using a literature survey and questionnaires. The microbiological hazards that may be present in all aged meats included Shiga toxin‐producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, enterotoxigenic Yersinia spp., Campylobacter spp. and Clostridium spp. Moulds, such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., may produce mycotoxins when conditions are favourable but may be prevented by ensuring a meat surface temperature of −0.5 to 3.0°C, with a relative humidity (RH) of 75–85% and an airflow of 0.2–0.5 m/s for up to 35 days. The main meat spoilage bacteria include Pseudomonas spp., Lactobacillus spp. Enterococcus spp., Weissella spp., Brochothrix spp., Leuconostoc spp., Lactobacillus spp., Shewanella spp. and Clostridium spp. Under current practices, the ageing of meat may have an impact on the load of microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria as compared to standard fresh meat preparation. Ageing under defined and controlled conditions can achieve the same or lower loads of microbiological hazards and spoilage bacteria than the variable log10 increases predicted during standard fresh meat preparation. An approach was used to establish the conditions of time and temperature that would achieve similar or lower levels of L. monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica (pork only) and lactic acid bacteria (representing spoilage bacteria) as compared to standard fresh meat. Finally, additional control activities were identified that would further assure the microbial safety of dry‐aged beef, based on recommended best practice and the outputs of the equivalence assessment.

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Research – Small Contaminations on Broiler Carcasses Are More a Quality Matter than a Food Safety Issue

MDPI

Abstract

Depending on the interpretation of the European Union (EU) regulations, even marginally visibly contaminated poultry carcasses could be rejected for human consumption due to food safety concerns. However, it is not clear if small contaminations actually increase the already present bacterial load of carcasses to such an extent that the risk for the consumers is seriously elevated. Therefore, the additional contribution to the total microbial load on carcasses by a small but still visible contamination with feces, grains from the crop, and drops of bile and grease from the slaughter line was determined using a Monte Carlo simulation. The bacterial counts (total aerobic plate count, EnterobacteriaceaeEscherichia coli, and Campylobacter spp.) were obtained from the literature and used as input for the Monte Carlo model with 50,000 iterations for each simulation. The Monte Carlo simulation revealed that the presence of minute spots of feces, bile, crop content, and slaughter line grease do not lead to a substantial increase of the already existing biological hazards present on the carcasses and should thus be considered a matter of quality rather than food safety.

Malta – Nearly 800 reported cases of food poisoning in 2022

Times of Malta

Just over 780 people were reported to have suffered from food poisoning last year, nearly 300 more than the numbers reported in pre-pandemic years, according to official statistics.

In 2022, a total of 781 food poisoning cases were reported to the health authorities, a major increase from the 486 registered in 2019.

The figure last year includes 357 people impacted by 71 outbreaks, up from the 232 people involved in 63 outbreaks of food poisoning in 2019.

The most common food-borne bacteria are Salmonella and Campylobacter, according to the list provided showing the food and water-borne diseases reported by the local health authorities.

Research UK – FSA annual reports shows rise in incidents and recalls

Food Safety News

The number of food incidents, recalls and cases of four pathogens went up over a 12-month period, according to the latest published data.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) annual report and accounts covers performance and activities in 2021/22 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland at a cost of £130.5 million ($160.2 million).

In 2021, cases of Campylobacter and Listeria reported in the UK returned to pre-COVID-19 levels but Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157 stayed lower than pre-pandemic figures. Data for all four pathogens showed an increase compared to more than 49,000 Campylobacter, 566 E. coli, 4,442 Salmonella and 136 Listeria cases in 2020.

A series of related Salmonella outbreaks in 2020 and 2021 were linked to breaded chicken products from Poland and affected more than 1,000 people.

Nine emerging risks were identified including Listeria in enoki mushrooms from Asia which had a 90 percent non-compliance rate.

Food, animal feed and environmental contamination incidents went up by almost 20 percent to 2,336. Pathogenic microorganisms were the leading cause of incidents, allergens were second and pesticide residues third, driven by the Europe-wide incident relating to non-permitted ethylene oxide in sesame products and items containing locust bean gum.

Notifications published in 2021/22 rose to 150 from 136 in the previous period. This included 84 allergy alerts and 66 product recall information notices.

Foodborne disease made up 17 percent of FSA spend on research and evidence programs. PATH-SAFE, a £19 million ($23.5 million) project was started to look at novel methods to improve foodborne disease and antimicrobial resistance surveillance.

Experts to meet and discuss Campylobacter control

Food Safety News

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are holding a meeting on Campylobacter in poultry next month.

Several experts from the United States are attending, including Bing Wang from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Marcos Sanchez-Plata of Texas Tech University; Catherine Logue at the University of Georgia. Also attending are Nicol Janecko, from the Quadram Institute, and Alessandra De Cesare from the University of Bologna.

Poultry meat has been identified as one of the most important food vehicles for Campylobacter contamination.

In a 2015 report on the global burden of foodborne disease, WHO estimated that in 2010 Campylobacter caused more than 95 million illnesses and 21,374 deaths.

UK retailers record good numbers for results of Campylobacter in chicken testing

Food Safety News

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Supermarkets in the United Kingdom have reported their Campylobacter in chicken results for the third quarter of 2022.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is no more than 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.

Data from the retailers covers July to September 2022 on high findings of Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.

Research – Study on bacterial infection in older individuals

News Medical

The older population is prone to microbial infections, which can lead to death. Hence, it is important to understand why this group is vulnerable to microbial infection, especially bacterial infection. A recent Scientific Reports study linked data from two sources to understand the determining factors for microbial infection in the older population in the UK.

The prevalence of bacterial infection significantly increases with age. According to English surveillance data, the incidence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria is around ten times more in men who are between 45 and 64 years of age and around 100 times more in men above 75 years of age, compared to the younger age group, i.e., those between 15 and 44 years of age. Similar trends were observed with Staphylococcus aureusStreptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.

Currently, there is no clear explanation for why older individuals are more vulnerable to microbial infections. Nevertheless, environmental risk factors, such as nutrition, lifestyle, and housing, have been deemed possible contributing factors. In addition, the levels of C reactive proteins (CRP) could contribute to individual infection risk.

Serological studies have indicated that aging is associated with a gradual decrease in adaptive immunity, i.e., T-cell responses and antibody levels, which leads to an increase in pneumococcal pneumonia and herpes zoster infections.

In addition to radiological imaging, microbiological sampling (e.g., blood, urine, sputum, peritoneal fluid, and cerebrospinal fluid) can also be used to diagnose an infection by identifying the causal organism of the infection. In England, microbiological specimens are typically processed in hospital laboratories under the National Health Service.

About the Study

The current study used a large-scale population cohort, namely the UK Biobank (UKB), to understand the determining factors of bacterial infection and how it influences subsequent health-related problems.

UKB is a prospective cohort that contains information on around 500,000 men and women aged between 40 and 69 between 2006 and 2010. Initially, this cohort was designed to evaluate the environmental and genetic determinants that lead to common life-threatening diseases.

Public Health England (PHE) has established a second-generation surveillance system (SGSS) to monitor and improve public health. The SGSS dataset contains regularly updated information on human pathogens, such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and other foodborne pathogens. Additionally, it contains antimicrobial test reports against important pathogens.

The current study demonstrated the possibility of linking UKB prospective cohort data with a national dataset containing information on microbial culture in England (SGSS).

Research – Report on surveillance of Campylobacter infections in France in 2021.

Sante Publique

CDC Campy

Key points

In 2021, surveillance of Campylobacter infections confirmed the epidemiological and biological trends already observed in recent years. Specifically, the data shows:

  • a predominance of the species C. jejuni ;
  • a higher number of cases and incidence in children with a maximum incidence in 0-9 year olds (27 cases/100,000 inhabitants);
  • a predominance of infections in men 15 cases per 100,000 inhabitants versus 11 cases per 100,000 for women (less marked trend in people aged 20 to 39);
  • a seasonal peak during the summer period;
  • high resistance to fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines, which has remained stable in recent years;
  • no notable increase in the resistance rates of the six antibiotics tested routinely;
  • consumption of poultry products as the first food (incriminated or suspected) identified as a source of contamination in episodes of collective food poisoning.

The number of Campylobacter strains listed by the CNR has been increasing since 2013, the year in which the network’s laboratories introduced online data entry. By way of comparison, at European level, the trend in the number of Campylobacter infection notifications remained stable over the 2016-2020 period. This increase observed in France could be a reflection of a real increase in Campylobacter infections. However, several factors, such as the grouping of laboratories into technical platforms and the increasingly systematic use of multiplex PCR (diagnostic tests that allow the presence of several targeted pathogens to be tested at the same time from the same sample) , facilitating the detection of Campylobacter sp , could have contributed to the increase in the number of strain isolations and therefore of the notification by the laboratories of the network over time.

Research – Intervention Strategies to Control Campylobacter at Different Stages of the Food Chain

MDPI

Abstract

Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial pathogens of food safety concern. Campylobacter jejuni infects chickens by 2–3 weeks of age and colonized chickens carry a high C. jejuni load in their gut without developing clinical disease. Contamination of meat products by gut contents is difficult to prevent because of the high numbers of C. jejuni in the gut, and the large percentage of birds infected. Therefore, effective intervention strategies to limit human infections of C. jejuni should prioritize the control of pathogen transmission along the food supply chain. To this end, there have been ongoing efforts to develop innovative ways to control foodborne pathogens in poultry to meet the growing customers’ demand for poultry meat that is free of foodborne pathogens. In this review, we discuss various approaches that are being undertaken to reduce Campylobacter load in live chickens (pre-harvest) and in carcasses (post-harvest). We also provide some insights into optimization of these approaches, which could potentially help improve the pre- and post-harvest practices for better control of Campylobacter.