Category Archives: Campylobacter

Research – Iceland – Electronic publication of salmonella and campylobacter monitoring


Official results of monitoring Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in poultry and Salmonella spp. in pigs have been published in a live and interactive dashboard on the website of the Food Administration. The publication is part of the transfer of Matvælastofnun’s monitoring results from the agency’s databases to an accessible electronic form with transparency in mind.

The dashboard offers easy access to information where the user chooses the period he wants to view, whether on an annual or monthly basis, all the way back to 2013. He can also look up when the selected Salmonella serum type was detected and how often. With explanations on the help page (green field Help), the reader is quick to realize options.

Related material

Netherlands – Netherlands records more than 700 outbreaks in 2019

Food Safety News

More than 700 food-related outbreaks were reported in the Netherlands in both 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, 756 foodborne outbreaks with 2,805 illnesses were recorded and in this past year 735 outbreaks with 3,058 illnesses were reported. The number of outbreaks went up from 2017 but illnesses declined.

The data comes from an overview by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) of the main zoonoses and their prevalence in the country for the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). It features 2018 and 2019 figures. The NVWA did not report 2018 outbreak data in 2019 because of a technical issue.

Norovirus was the main cause of outbreaks with 16 and 17 in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and most patients in both years with 370 and 375. The number of outbreaks is lower than 2017 but higher than 2016.

RASFF Alert – Campylobacter – Chilled Chicken Escalopes

European Food Alerts


Salmonella (presence /25g) and Campylobacter (< 100 CFU/g) in chilled chicken escalopes from Austria in Germany

Sweden – Hit again by increase in Campylobacter

Food Safety News

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Sweden is once again battling a rise in the number of Campylobacter infections after a temporary decline. A common source related to chicken has been identified.

Since August, the number of people who have contracted campylobacteriosis has been unexpectedly high. The increase in disease was preceded by a greater proportion of broiler flocks with Campylobacter.

Officials warned that higher sickness rates in recent weeks indicates that problems remain.

EU – EU project uses phages to tackle Campylobacter in poultry

Food Safety News

A European project has developed a way to help with the biocontrol of Campylobacter and reduce its prevalence in the poultry sector.

Work focuses on the development of a bacteriophage-based solution to be used as a natural antimicrobial in the farm (pre-harvest), at slaughter, and in processing facilities (post-harvest). Standard control measures at the farm level rely upon the use of antibiotics.

The project, called Campylobacter-Specific Nullification via Innovative Phage-mediated Enteropathogen Reduction (C-SNIPER), is led by AZTI, a technology center in Spain. It received funding from EIT Food, part of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Poultry is the most widely consumed meat in the EU with Poland, Italy, Spain, and Germany as major producers. However, the consumption of poultry products is also considered the main route for campylobacteriosis, the most frequently reported foodborne illness in Europe.

Research – Assessment of stabilized hydrogen peroxide for use in reducing Campylobacter levels and prevalence on broiler chicken wings

Journal of Food Protection

Poultry processing establishments utilize antimicrobial processing aids on broiler parts to minimize Campylobacter contamination. A stabilized hydrogen peroxide (SHP) product was assessed for use as an antimicrobial processing aid. In a series of experiments, wing segments with skin were inoculated with 103 – 107 cells of Campylobacter coli followed by treatment with SHP at 15,000 or 30,000 mg/L, peroxyacetic acid at 300 or 3,000 mg/L (ppm), or water. Each treatment was applied by either dip or spray. Rinsates from each wing segment were analyzed for direct counts and prevalence of Campylobacter. Treatment with SHP or PAA significantly reduced Campylobacter levels compared to water controls by up to 2.22 log CFU/mL. At high inoculum levels (106 – 107), SHP and PAA applied by dip had up to 1.27 log CFU/mL further reductions of Campylobacter levels as compared to spray treated wing segments. Additionally, wing drumettes were observed to retain higher levels and prevalence of Campylobacter recovery compared to wing flats at a low inoculation level (103). The results indicated that there was no carry-over effect of SHP (same day vs. 24 h) and dip treatment with SHP or PAA decreased Campylobacter recovery on broiler chicken wing segments compared to a water control. Although 2 log reductions were modest, SHP had similar efficacy as the commonly used processing aid, PAA. SHP shows potential for further investigation as an antimicrobial processing aid for use on poultry parts.

Research – Microbiological Quality of Cooked Chicken: Results of Monitoring in England (2013 to 2017)

Journal of Food Protection

Results from monitoring of the microbiological quality of 2,721 samples of ready-to-eat cooked chicken collected between 2013 to 2017 in England were reviewed: 70% of samples were from retail, catering, or manufacture and 30% were imported and collected at English ports. Samples were tested for a range of bacterial pathogens and indicator organisms. Six samples (<1%) had unsatisfactory levels of pathogens that were potentially injurious to health. Neither Salmonella nor Campylobacter were recovered from any samples. Two samples from catering settings contained either an unsatisfactory level of Bacillus cereus (5 × 106 CFU/g) or an unsatisfactory level of coagulase-positive staphylococci (1.6 × 104 CFU/g). Listeria monocytogenes was recovered from 36 samples (1 at manufacture, 26 at catering, and 9 at retail) and in 4 samples, unsatisfactory levels (≥102 CFU/g) were detected (3 samples collected at catering and 1 sample at retail). For L. monocytogenes, there were no significant differences between the rates of contamination for the samples collected from ports, manufacture, retail supermarkets, and other retailers (P = 0.288). There were no differences between the rates of contamination for other potential pathogens detected between samples from different settings. The prevalence of hygiene indicators (Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and aerobic colony counts) at import was significantly lower than in samples collected from manufacturers, retail, or catering (P < 0.01). Samples collected from catering gave poorer results than those from all other settings. Regardless of the stage in the food chain, samples from Thailand and from other non–European Union countries were of significantly better microbiological quality with respect to indicator organisms than those from the United Kingdom or from other European Union countries (P = <0.001).

  • Routine microbiological monitoring of 2,721 samples was reviewed.
  • Six samples (<1%) were unsatisfactory due to the levels of bacterial pathogens.
  • Hygiene indicator bacteria were significantly higher in samples from catering.
  • Port samples had significantly lower levels of hygiene indicators.

Research – Netherlands – Surveillance zoonoses in broilers 2018-2019


Animals can carry pathogens that can cause disease in humans. The diseases which they cause are known as zoonoses. In 2018 and 2019 the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority [Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority] (NVWA) investigated how often some of these pathogens occurred in broilers. This study involved broilers at 198 farms as well as 132 livestock farmers, family members and employees. RIVM assessed whether the same pathogens also occurred in these persons. Most of these pathogens usually cause diarrhoea, but the infections can sometimes be more severe. ESBL-producing bacteria were also assessed, as they are resistant to an important group of antibiotics.

A number of pathogens occur frequently in the investigated broilers. They are present in the animals’ intestines and therefore in the manure as well. Meat can become contaminated in the slaughterhouse if it comes into direct contact with the manure. People can prevent an infection by only eating chicken that has been thoroughly cooked. It is also important to prevent other food from coming into contact with raw meat.

Of the pathogens investigated, ESBL-producing bacteria were found most often, namely in the broilers on 36% of the farms. Among livestock farmers and family members, these bacteria were found in 7% of participants. This is comparable to the percentage in the general Dutch population.

Campylobacter was found on 32% of broiler farms. This is comparable to the numbers from Campylobacter surveillance conducted between 1999 and 2002. Campylobacter was also found in two of the human participants.

Salmonella surveillance is carried out on all broiler farms according to European legislation. Salmonella was reported in broilers from 11% of the farms. The types of Salmonella bacteria identified are those that can cause diarrhoea in people. Salmonella was also found in one human participant.

STEC and Listeria were found on very few broiler farms. These bacteria were detected on 1% (Listeria) or less (STEC) of the investigated farms.

UK – Tesco and Asda improve Campylobacter in chicken results

Food Safety News

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Image CDC

The percentage of chickens at Tesco and Asda testing positive for Campylobacter at the top level of contamination in the second quarter of 2020 has fallen below the FSA target.

The two supermarkets had recorded levels above the Food Standards Agency (FSA) threshold of 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter in the first quarter of this year.

Tesco reported 9 percent of 132 samples in 1Q 2020 had the highest level of Campylobacter contamination while Asda recorded 9.2 percent.

The figures for 2Q from April to June show Tesco had 3 percent and Asda had 3.6 percent above the top level of contamination.

Research – Switzerland – Do changes in STEC diagnostics mislead interpretation of disease surveillance data in Switzerland? Time trends in positivity, 2007 to 2016


Infections caused by Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing  (STEC) are generally mild and self-limiting or even asymptomatic. However, particularly in children and elderly people, STEC infections can lead to severe gastroenteritis with haemorrhagic diarrhoea and life-threatening conditions, e.g. haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) [1,2].

STEC transmission can occur through the consumption of contaminated food and drinks, or by direct contact with infected individuals or animals shedding the bacterium* [1,35]. STEC infections are endemic in Europe, including Switzerland [6,7]. Cases occur sporadically or in outbreaks; a large outbreak attributed to contaminated sprouts occurred in Germany in 2011 [8]. Smaller outbreaks have also been reported, e.g. there was an outbreak in Italy in 2013 and in Romania in 2016, both were suspected to be caused by contaminated dairy products [9,10]. Considering 22 years of population-based data up to 2012, Majowicz et al. estimated in 2014 that STEC leads to an estimated 2.8 million illness cases per year, including 3,800 cases of HUS, globally [11].

The National Notification System for Infectious Diseases (NNSID) of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has been receiving all notifications of laboratory-confirmed STEC infections since 1999. Case numbers were generally constant until 2010, with only a few laboratories reporting STEC cases in Switzerland. An increase in cases was observed in 2011 following the outbreak in Germany, before returning to expected yearly fluctuations, and then markedly increasing since 2015 [12]. Given that this increase was observed around the same time as the introduction of syndromic multiplex PCR panels for stool analyses in standard laboratory practice in Switzerland [12], it was hypothesised that these panels were the cause of the increase in notified STEC cases. Traditionally, routine testing of stool samples for bacterial pathogens involved only  spp.,  spp. and  spp. using culture-based techniques. With syndromic multiplex PCR panels, stool samples can be tested for up to 22 pathogens, including STEC, in one single run [12,13].

Prior to the gradual introduction of multiplex PCR to the routine diagnostics between 2014 and 2015, STEC was only specifically tested for in Switzerland upon physician request, and this rarely happened. Current testing practice includes the use of small syndromic enteric bacterial panels for testing in patients without a travel history or a larger gastrointestinal panel if travel history is reported on the test order form [7].

A qualitative assessment found that Swiss laboratory experts uniformly agreed that the increase in STEC case numbers was due to the introduction and increasing use of multiplex PCR panels [7]. We set out to conduct a quantitative investigation as to whether an increase in the STEC testing rate associated with the use of the panels is what led to the increased notification of cases.

Our study assesses the development of the STEC positivity in the Swiss population between 2007 and 2016 using routine laboratory data, and gives insight into the epidemiology and notification numbers of STEC infections in Switzerland.