Category Archives: Retailer Campylobacter Survey

Research – A restatement of the natural science evidence base regarding the source, spread and control of Campylobacter species causing human disease

Royal Society Publishing


Food poisoning caused by Campylobacter (campylobacteriosis) is the most prevalent bacterial disease associated with the consumption of poultry, beef, lamb and pork meat and unpasteurized dairy products. A variety of livestock industry, food chain and public health interventions have been implemented or proposed to reduce disease prevalence, some of which entail costs for producers and retailers. This paper describes a project that set out to summarize the natural science evidence base relevant to campylobacteriosis control in as policy-neutral terms as possible. A series of evidence statements are listed and categorized according to the nature of the underlying information. The evidence summary forms the appendix to this paper and an annotated bibliography is provided in the electronic supplementary material.

Research – Monitoring AMR in Campylobacter jejuni from Italy in the last 10 years (2011–2021): Microbiological and WGS data risk assessment


Campylobacter jejuni is considered as the main pathogen in human food‐borne outbreaks worldwide. Over the past years, several studies have reported antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in C. jejuni strains. In Europe, the official monitoring of AMR comprises the testing of Campylobacter spp. from food‐producing animals because this microorganism is responsible for human infections and usually predominant in poultry. Food‐producing animals are considered to be a major source of campylobacteriosis through contamination of food products. Concerns are growing due to the current classification of C. jejuni by the WHO as a ‘high priority pathogen’ due to the emergence of resistance to multiple drugs such as those belonging to the fluoroquinolones, macrolides and other classes, which limits the treatment alternatives. Knowledge about the contributions of different food sources to gastrointestinal disease is fundamental to prioritise food safety interventions and to establish proper control strategies. Assessing the genetic diversity among Campylobacter species is essential to the understanding of their epidemiology and population structure. Using a population genetic approach and grouping the isolates into sequence types within different clonal complexes, it is possible to investigate the source of the human cases. The work programme was aimed for the fellow to assess the AMR of C. jejuni isolated from humans, poultry and birds from wild and urban Italian habitats. Given the public health concern represented by resistant pathogens in food‐producing animals and the paucity of data about this topic in Italy, the aim was to identify correlations between phenotypic and genotypic AMR and comparing the origin of the isolates. The work programme allowed the fellow to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies on the web‐based tools used by IZSAM to process the NGS data and perform bioinformatics analyses for the identification of epidemiological clusters, the study of AMR patterns in C. jejuni isolates, and the assessment of the human exposure to such AMR pathogens. Furthermore, the fellow became able to transfer the acquired knowledge through innovative web‐based didactical tools applied to WGS and clustering of specific food‐borne pathogens, with particular reference to C. jejuni. To achieve this objective, 2,734 C. jejuni strains isolated from domestic and wild animals and humans, during the period 2011–2021 were analysed. The resistance phenotypes of the isolates were determined using the microdilution method with EUCAST breakpoints, for the following antibiotics: nalidixic acid, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, erythromycin, gentamicin, streptomycin, tetracycline. The data were complemented by WGS data for each strain, uploaded in the Italian information system for the collection and analysis of complete genome sequence of pathogens isolated from animal, food and environment (GENPAT) developed and maintained at IZSAM; information like clonal complex and sequence type to understand the phylogenetical distance between strains according to their origins were also considered. This work underlines that a better knowledge of the resistance levels of C. jejuni is necessary, and mandatory monitoring of Campylobacter species in the different animal productions is strongly suggested.

Research – Dutch survey finds a quarter of people wash chicken, despite expert advice

Food Safety News

A survey in the Netherlands has found more than a quarter of people wash raw chicken, which public health officials say increases the chances of spreading bacteria.

Results come from two surveys by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) with the Dutch population about safe food handling.

The first survey in May 2021 with 2,000 participants asked Dutch consumers about general food safety handling in the domestic kitchen. One of the questions was if they washed their chicken.

A second survey in November 2021 with 1,000 respondents was focused on safe handling of chicken. People were asked if they washed their chicken and more details about why and how. Both surveys revealed that more than 25 percent of consumers washed their chicken often or almost always.

Bacteria on chicken can cause food poisoning. Usually it is because of Campylobacter or Salmonella.

Washing raw poultry is not recommended, because of concerns about contaminating other foods and surfaces and increasing the risk of foodborne illness.

Research – Prevalence and levels of Campylobacter in broiler chicken batches and carcasses in Ireland in 2017–2018

Science Direct


Provides valuable qualitative and quantitative data on Campylobacter in Irish Broilers.

Study demonstrates improvements and progress made in the Irish poultry industry.

Study provides indications of several factors on Campylobacter contamination rates.


In 2008, an EU wide baseline survey of broilers revealed a high Campylobacter prevalence. To assist with industry-wide controls, updated data were required. The primary objective of this study was to establish up-to-date data on Campylobacter carriage and carcass contamination in Irish broilers. Monthly samples were collected from the three largest broiler processing plants in Ireland over a twelve-month period. Samples were taken from both first and final thin birds (partial and full depopulation) from 358 batches of broilers. From each batch, a composite sample of 10 caecal contents (n = 358) and 5 neck skins (n = 1790) were collected and numbers of Campylobacter in each sample were determined. Of the 1790 neck skin samples tested, 53% were Campylobacter positive. Campylobacter was detected in the caecal contents of 66% of all batches tested. Depopulation and/or age had a significant effect on Campylobacter prevalence with 67% of final thin broilers yielding Campylobacter-positive neck skin samples in contrast to 38% of first thin broilers that yielded positive neck skin samples (P ≤ 0.002). A significant seasonal variation was observed in the rate of Campylobacter-positive caecal samples with higher prevalence seen in July (85%) than the colder months of November (61%), December (50%), January (61%) March (57%) and April (59%). Neck skin samples were 7 times more likely to be Campylobacter positive if the caecal contents from the same batch were positive (odds ratio = 7.1; P ≤ 0.0001). The decrease in Campylobacter prevalence observed in neck skin and caecal contents demonstrates the improvements and progress made in reducing prevalences of this important enteropathogen in the Irish poultry industry since the 2008 EU baseline survey. It also provides further supporting data on the impact of thinning, the processing environment and season on Campylobacter prevalence.

UK – Several supermarkets improve Campylobacter in chicken results

Food Safety News

The supermarket Marks and Spencer has reported better results for Campylobacter in chicken in the latest quarterly figures from the United Kingdom.

The data covers October to December 2021 for nine retailers on high levels of Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.

Results at Morrisons, Lidl, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s went up while Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Co-op, Aldi and Asda recorded lower levels of contamination compared to the previous quarter.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.

UK – Retailer’s Campylobacter results above FSA limit

Food Safety News

Marks and Spencer has again recorded the highest Campylobacter in chicken results in updated quarterly figures from the United Kingdom.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in the UK and the dose needed to make people sick can be as low as a few hundred cells. Marks and Spencer is the only retailer to publish data showing the percentage of chickens contaminated at 100 to 1,000 CFU/g and at under 100 CFU/g.

Contamination figures published by the retailer went down as the quarter went on. The latest data covers July to September 2021 for nine retailers on Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter. Marks and Spencer results were also above this limit in May and June 2021.