Catching, Evisceration are Key for Campy Control

FRANCE - The highest risk factors for the contamination of poultry carcasses with Campylobacter were found to be catching on farm and evisceration at the slaughterhouse, according to new research.
calendar icon 1 July 2010
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Olivier Hue of the AFSSA (French Agency for Food Safety) in Ploufragan in France and colleagues there and in Paris have investigated the prevalence of and risk factors for Campylobacter spp. contamination of broiler chicken carcasses at the slaughterhouse. Their paper is soon to be published in the journal, Food Microbiology.

The study was conducted in 2008, using a pool of 10 caeca and one carcass collected from 425 batches of broiler chickens slaughtered in 58 French slaughterhouses over a 12-month period.

Potential risk factors were identified according to the Campylobacter contamination status of carcasses and processing variables identified from questionnaires. The statistical analysis took into account confounding factors that have already been associated with the presence of Campylobacter on carcasses such as the slaughter age of the chicken or seasonal variations.

Campylobacter spp. were isolated from 77.2 per cent of caeca (95 per cent CI: 73.2 to 81.2) and from 87.5 per cent of carcasses (95 per cent CI: 84.4 to 90.7).

A multiple logistic regression showed four parameters as significant risk factors (p<0.05) for contamination:

  1. batches were not the first to be slaughtered in the logistic schedule (OR=3.5)
  2. temperature in the evisceration room was higher than 15°C (OR=3.1)
  3. dirty marks on carcasses after evisceration were visible (OR=2.6), and
  4. previous thinning of the flocks, from which slaughtered batches came, had occurred at the farm (OR=3.3).

This last result highlights the need for sanitary precautions to be taken when catching birds for transport, concluded Hue and co-authors.

The researchers added that, at the slaughterhouse, evisceration seemed to be the operation contributing most to the spread of contamination.

Effective risk management solutions could include the systematic external rinsing of carcasses after evisceration and the implementation of slaughtering schedules according to the Campylobacter contamination status of flocks.


Hue O., S. Le Bouquin, M-J. Laisney, V. Allain, F. Lalandea, I. Petetin, S. Rouxel, S. Quesnea, P-Y. Gloaguen, M. Picherot, J. Santolini, G. Salvata, S. Bougeard and M. Chemaly. 2010. Prevalence of and risk factors for Campylobacter spp. contamination of broiler chicken carcasses at the slaughterhouse. Food Microbiology. (online ahead of publication). doi:10.1016/

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