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A baseline quantitative survey of campylobacter spp. on retail chicken portions and carcasses in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia

Habib, I., Coles, J., Fallows, M. and Goodchild, S. (2018) A baseline quantitative survey of campylobacter spp. on retail chicken portions and carcasses in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 16 (3).

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Introduction: Limited baseline retail surveys have been published over the past 10 years on Campylobacter in Australian chicken meat. This study generates quantitative baseline data to assist in risk assessment and management strategies.

Methods: Raw poultry products (n = 315) were purchased for a year (2016–2017) from retail supermarkets in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia (WA). Campylobacter concentration was determined by a direct plating method in all samples, whereas in 58.7% (185/315) of the samples, testing was done using enrichment culture in conjunction with direct plating according to standard methods.

Results: Using direct plating, Campylobacter were recovered from 23.8% (75/315) of the samples, whereas 53.7% (100/186) of the samples were positive for Campylobacter using enrichment culture (∼1 g). Campylobacter counts revealed that 76.2% of the chicken portions and carcasses were contaminated with <1 log10 colony-forming units (CFU)/g, and 18.7% of the samples were contaminated with ≥2 log10 CFU/g. The average Campylobacter concentration among 315 tested chicken meat samples was 1.82 log10 CFU/g (±standard deviation (SD) 2.26 log10 CFU/g). The likelihood of Campylobacter recovery by direct plating from chicken products with skin on was significantly higher (odds ratio [OR] 4.4; p < 0.0001) than product forms with skin off. The highest counts of Campylobacter were associated with chicken wings (1.94 log10 CFU/g [±SD 2.26 log10 CFU/g]). There were some significant variations in Campylobacter counts based on the interaction between product forms and sourcing poultry processing establishment.

Conclusions: This study provides the first published research on Campylobacter status in retail chicken meat in Australia since almost 10 years. Results from this study add to the knowledge on the assessment of microbial safety of the WA poultry chain, and can be used as an input for future development of quantitative risk assessment of Campylobacter.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Copyright: 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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