Category Archives: Retailer Campylobacter Survey

Research – Quantitative Determination Of Campylobacter On Broilers Along 22 UK Processing Lines, To Identify Potential Process Control Points and Cross-contamination From Colonized To Uncolonized Flocks

Journal of Food Protection

As part of a program to reduce numbers of the human pathogen Campylobacter on retail chickens twenty-two broiler processing lines, representing over 90% of United Kingdom (UK) production, were characterized by enumerating Campylobacter on pooled neck skins after the exsanguination, scalding, defeathering, evisceration, crop removal, inside-outside washing, and air-chilling stages of processing.  Sixteen of the processing lines investigated showed significant (p<0.05) reductions in Campylobacter numbers because of carcass scalding.  However, in all these lines, the following defeathering stage caused a significant increase in Campylobacter contamination that effectively negated the reductions caused by scalding.  On four processing lines, primary chilling also caused a significant reduction in numbers of Campylobacter.  On three lines, there was a significant microbiological benefit from inside-outside (I/O) washing.  The stages where Campylobacter numbers were reduced require further investigations to determine the specific mechanisms responsible so that the observed pathogen reductions can be optimized, and more widely implemented. The transfer of up to 4 log cfu Campylobacter per gram of neck skin from a colonized flock to a following uncolonized flock was observed.  The cross contamination was substantial and still detectable after 5,000 carcasses from an uncolonized flock had been processed.  The numbers of Campylobacter recovered from the uncolonized flocks were highest on the first of the uncolonized birds to pass along the line and, in general, numbers fell as more uncolonized birds were processed.  Air sampling recovered low numbers at the processing stages monitored, indicating that airborne transmission was unlikely to be the primary transfer mechanism operating for cross-contamination between flocks.

UK – AMR in Campylobacter in UK chicken over the last 20 years


Campylobacter kswfoodworld

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published a report analysing 20 years of data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Campylobacter from retail chicken in the UK.

The study aimed to assess any trends during this 20-year period and provides a baseline against which to evaluate future, hoped-for reductions in AMR.

AMR is when bacteria adapt to become resistant to the killing effects of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics. This resistance subsequently makes such infections in humans more difficult to treat using drugs.  AMR can develop in any bacteria, including Campylobacter. Campylobacter is the main cause of bacterial food poisoning in the developed world and it is estimated that there are in excess of half a million cases annually in the UK.

The FSA’s Science lead in Microbiological Risk Assessment, Dr Paul Cook, said:

“While the data shows a marked increase in AMR in Campylobacter to certain antimicrobials, it is encouraging that there has been no significant increase in resistance since 2014.

“Any increase of AMR in Campylobacter is a concern and continued surveillance is essential. We will continue to carry out AMR surveillance in chicken and other meats and to monitor any long-term trends in resistance, while promoting good food hygiene practice to reduce exposure to AMR bacteria and protect consumer safety.”

Since its formation in 2000, the FSA has commissioned several UK-wide retail surveys and sampling studies that involved testing for Campylobacter in chicken. A significant proportion of the Campylobacter isolates detected were further tested to assess resistance to a range of antimicrobials.

Key findings from this report vary between the five main types of antimicrobial drugs included in the study. Resistance to quinolones (ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid) and tetracycline was common in the most prevalent types of Campylobacter from chicken (Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli). In comparison, resistance to erythromycin and streptomycin was much rarer in the Campylobacter isolates examined.  Gentamicin resistance was very rare.

There are effective ways for consumers to reduce exposure to AMR bacteria. This includes cleaning surfaces properly, cooking food thoroughly, chilling food at the correct temperature and handling food hygienically so it doesn’t cross contaminate other foods or surfaces. For any fruit or vegetables consumed raw, make sure they are washed thoroughly or peeled as this will help to remove any visible dirt or bacterial contamination.

For more information on AMR, including an ‘FSA Explains’ video, visit our dedicated AMR webpage. The research report is available on our research pages.

Research – Campylobacter Retailer Survey

Lex blog

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

Lidl has reported Campylobacter in chicken levels above the FSA’s target for the second quarter of 2022.

The supermarket chain recorded 8 percent of birds in the highest category which is up from 2 percent in the previous quarter and 6 percent in the period before that.

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.

Data from all nine retailers covers April to June 2022 on high findings of Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.

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

Research – Lag between Campylobacter cases in broilers and humans

Poultry World

A Swedish study of human cases of campylobacteriosis and the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in broilers has found a 2-week time lag, suggesting transmission through handling and consumption of fresh chicken meat.

The study, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, looked at cases between 2009 and 2019, exploring the relationship between the proportion of Campylobacter-positive broiler batches and the number of reported domestic cases in Sweden in humans.

UK Research – UK retailers reveal Campylobacter results for early 2022

Food Safety News

Campylobacter kswfoodworld

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

The data covers January to March 2022 for nine retailers on high levels of 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.

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

For Marks and Spencer, 4 percent were in the maximum category in January, 3 percent in February but 10 percent in March from 376 chickens sampled.

In October 2021, 5 percent of chickens were above 1,000 CFU/g, 8 percent in November 2021 and 5 percent in December 2021 from the same amount of poultry tested.

See the link for more data.

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.