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No Evidence of Fall in Campylobacter in Poultry Meat

08 September 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Moran and colleagues at Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast found that the prevalence rates for chicken produced in the UK was very high at 91 per cent, and strategies to control Campylobacter in chicken appear not to have had a significant effect on the prevalence of the pathogen.

A year-long survey of fresh, retail poultry products on sale in Northern Ireland was undertaken to define the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. by using protocols based on ISO (standard) 10272-1:2006. Incubation at 37 and 42°C was undertaken to increase the diversity of isolates obtained.

Overall, 652 isolates were identified as Campylobacter spp. by using PCR and amplified fragment length polymorphic typing. Phenotyping wrongly identified 21 per cent of isolates.

Prevalence of Campylobacter found were chicken, 91 per cent (n=336), turkey, 56 per cent (n=77) and duck, 100 per cent (n=17).

Prevalence rates for chicken produced in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales were similar, with a mean value of 91 per cent. The prevalence in product from the latter two countries were much higher than were found in two United Kingdom-wide surveys of chicken.

The incubation temperature did not affect the relative proportions of the species isolated (P>0.05).

Campylobacter jejuni composed 64.6 per cent of isolates, Campylobacter coli, 27.4 per cent and Campylobacter lari, one per cent. Most cases of human campylobacteriosis are caused by C. jejuni and C. coli.

The overall Campylobacter prevalence results are consistent with Northern Ireland surveys undertaken since 2000, and indicate that United Kingdom strategies to control Campylobacter in chicken have not had a significant effect on the prevalence of this pathogen in retail products on sale in Northern Ireland.


Moran, L., P. Scates and R.H. Madden, 2009. Prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in raw retail poultry on sale in Northern Ireland. Journal of Food Protection, 72 (9): 1830-1835.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

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