Journal of Food Protection
Raw poultry products often are contaminated with Salmonella and Campylobacter, and these bacteria can be transmitted through meat juice on the packages. An observational study was conducted to assess consumer exposure to meat juice during shopping and to quantify the transmission of meat juice from poultry packages to hands and other surfaces. Ninety-six participants completed the shopping study; 402 swabs were collected and analyzed for the presence of meat juice by an immunoassay. Overall, meat juice was detected on 61% of poultry package surfaces, 34% of shoppers’ hands, 41% of grocery bags, 60% of kitchen surfaces, and 51% of food item surfaces. When meat juice was detected on the purchased poultry packages, the chance of the meat juice being on the shopper’s hands, grocery bags, food items, and kitchen surfaces was significantly higher (P < 0.005) compared with packages on which meat juice was not present. Shoppers who had poultry wrapped separately during checkout had a significantly lower (P < 0.05) chance of meat juice on the food items. However, using plastic bags and wrapping poultry separately did not significantly reduce the likelihood of meat juice on kitchen surfaces at home due to consumers’ practices of repackaging before storage. Results suggested that the transfer of meat juice through direct contact with the poultry packages is a major concern during shopping and should be prevented.
A matched case–control study in Quebec, Canada, evaluated consumption of veal liver as a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Campylobacter was identified in 28 of 97 veal livers collected concurrently from slaughterhouses and retailers. Veal liver was associated with human Campylobacter infection, particularly when consumed undercooked.
Recent investigations conducted in Quebec, Canada, after an increased number of sporadic campylobacteriosis illnesses suggested that consumption of veal liver may be a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Many of the persons infected reported eating veal liver, and many of those had eaten it pink or undercooked. The association between campylobacteriosis and the consumption of meat products, including chicken liver and offal from different animal species, has been previously described (1–5). We designed an epidemiologic study to examine the relationship between veal liver consumption and campylobacteriosis.
Over the past several years the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken important steps to establish pathogen standards for some meat and poultry, but some commonly consumed products such as turkey breasts and pork chops don’t have standards, and it’s not clear how the agency decides which products to consider for new standards, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said this week.
The request for the GAO’s investigation into the pathogen standards came from members of a Senate committee. Though the US food supply is considered safe, the GAO cited a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that foodborne pathogens cause about 9 million illnesses each year, 2 million of them from Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Three main recommendations
To explore pathogen standards, GAO investigators analyzed regulations and documents, interviewed federal officials, and talked to several stakeholders.
The GAO made three recommendations to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS):
- Documenting the process for deciding which products to consider for new pathogen standards
- Setting time frames for determining what standards or updates are needed for beef carcasses, ground beef, pork cuts, and ground pork
- Including information on effectiveness of on-farm practices in final guidance on controlling Salmonella for hog producers.
The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed a draft of the GAO report, and the USDA agreed with the three recommendations and described steps to address them.
There is limited information about Campylobacter in commercially processed quail (Coturnix coturnix). The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of Campylobacter on carcasses in a commercial quail processing plant. Carcasses were collected prior to chilling and/or the application of any antimicrobials, transported to the laboratory, and individually bagged. Following the standard protocol for recovering Campylobacter, three typical colonies were selected, confirmed as Campylobacter and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility. Nine replicates were conducted. Of the 85 carcasses obtained (n = 5 for first visit, n = 10 for 8 subsequent visits), 28 (32.9%) carcasses were found to be positive for Campylobacter. On four visits, no Campylobacter was found; on two visits, all samples were positive; and 1/5, 1/10, and 6/10 samples were positive for the remaining visits. Of the 28 isolates recovered, 18 (64%) were C. jejuni and 10 (36%) were C. coli. Tetracycline resistance was detected in all 28 isolates. Future work in the breeder flocks, hatchery, and grow‐out houses is planned to further understand Campylobacter ecology in quail production and processing which could also be useful to the broiler industry.
Very little published information exists for the presence of Campylobacter spp. on processed quail. Most of the studies involve cloacal swabs and ceca from samples obtained from hunters. This study involves sampling processed quail carcasses from a large commercial integrated company and also determined the species and antibiotic resistance profile of the Campylobacter isolates. There is considerable debate concerning the ecology of Campylobacter on poultry and perhaps our data can be used by the broiler industry to develop a better understanding of the ecology and to assist in the application of effective intervention strategies. Presently, there is slightly under 100,000 million commercially processed and domestically grown quails in the United States each year, most of which is marketed in Europe as a frozen product. So the presence of an important foodborne pathogen on this food is significant information.
Campylobacter bacteria in poultry products are a main cause of human food-borne diseases. Production environments have a direct influence on contamination with pathogens, on increased mortality, and/or indirect influence on uniformity and decreased broiler performance.
Cleaning and disinfection can have positive influences on the increase in birds’ productive performance, as disease causing microorganisms are reduced or destroyed.
These biosecurity programmes are crucial for the maintenance of high productivity of poultry flocks and fundamental to ensure the quality of poultry products, making them appropriate for human consumption. Detailed cleaning and disinfection programmes aim to reduce infection pressure from microorganisms from one flock to the next. Studies simultaneously evaluating efficiency of cleaning and disinfection protocols, poultry performance, sanitary status of the facilities and sanitary quality of the meat are rarely found.
A University of Otago, Wellington study, published last week in the international journal BMC Public Health, found only 15 per cent of consumers were aware that most of fresh chicken meat for sale in New Zealand is contaminated with Campylobacter.
The researchers also found deficiencies in the safety information provided to consumers.
“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of campylobacteriosis in the world and at least half of cases can be attributed to contaminated chicken,” says Philip Allan, one of the study’s authors and a medical student attached to the Department of Public Health.
Most survey participants were aware of the need to thoroughly cook chicken and to use separate utensils during preparation, but many were unaware that rinsing fresh chicken under the tap could spread the infection or that freezing chicken reduced Campylobacter contamination.
The study authors expect food safety regulators and chicken producers and retailers to be taking all reasonable steps to protect consumers.
How to cook the Campylobacter out of your chicken
Posted in Campylobacter, Food Hygiene, Food Inspections, Food Micro Blog, Food Microbiology, Food Microbiology Blog, food recall, Food Safety, Food Safety Alert, Research, Uncategorized
BMC Public Health
Campylobacteriosis from contaminated chicken meat is one of the most important food safety problems in western countries, and dissemination of antibiotic resistant
organisms is a growing concern. It is also a preventable disease. Food labels are a universally accessible means of conveying safe chicken preparation information to
consumers. Our research identified demand for comprehensive safe chicken preparation and handling information on labels and demonstrated several gaps in consumer
knowledge. Consumers currently underestimate the level of Campylobacter
contamination on fresh raw chicken, and have stated a desire to have such information presented on labels to inform their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, our chicken label analysis demonstrated a lack of consistent safety messages in an easily-useable
format, highlighting a key deficiency to be addressed. We recommend mandatory introduction of comprehensive, high-quality, chicken safety labelling, along with
evaluation to establish whether this intervention leads to changes in consumer behaviour and reductions in the incidence of Campylobacter infection.