Tracing <em>Campylobacter jejuni</em> Strains along the Poultry Meat Production Chain

Farm and slaughterhouse genotypes of Campylobacter jejuni, one of the most common causes of foodborne disease in humans and associated with poultry meat, were found by researchers from Spain and Finland at all the stages they investigated from farm to retail. Resistance to two commonly used antimicrobials was high in the genotypes found at retail.
calendar icon 14 May 2012
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In a paper soon to be published in Food Microbiology, Beatriz Melero of the University of Burgos in Spain and co-authors there and at the University of Helsinki in Finland report a study in which C. jejuni isolates were recovered from birds, carcasses and carcass portions from two broiler chicken flocks and from equipment used for carcass and meat processing along the production chain from farms to retail stores.

Isolates were subjected to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SmaI and KpnI restriction enzymes and their antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined.

C. jejuni was recovered from product and equipment used with both flocks at each point in the production chain. The prevalence of C. jejuni in poultry products at retail stores was 58.97 per cent for flock 1 and 69.23 per cent for flock 2.

SmaI divided 122 C. jejuni strains from flock 1 and 106 from flock 2 into 17 and 13 PFGE types, respectively. PFGE types H and F were present at all steps along the chain, from farms to retail products. Similarly, for both flocks PFGE type D was detected in crates, slaughterhouse and retail stores.

Moreover, the PFGE types were highly diverse at the processing and retail steps. Most PFGE types were resistant to ciprofloxacin (95.45 per cent) and tetracycline (81.82 per cent); and multi–drug resistant PFGE types were found in the final products.

The study showed that there were several points of cross–contamination of product along the chain, and a high diversity of PFGE types with antimicrobial resistance to ciprofloxacin and tetracycline in the retail products, concluded Melero and co–authors.


Melero B., P. Juntunen, M-L. Hänninen, I. Jaime and J. Rovira. 2012. Tracing Campylobacter jejuni strains along the poultry meat production chain from farm to retail by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and the antimicrobial resistance of isolates. Food Microbiology [in press]. doi 10.1016/

Further Reading

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May 2012
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