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Incidence of Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and Listeria monocytogenes in Poultry Carcasses and Different Types of Poultry Products for Sale on the Belgian Retail Market

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From January 1997 to May 1998, 772 samples of poultry carcasses and poultry products for sale on the retail market in Belgium were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella spp., Salmonella Enteritidis, Campylobacter jejuni, C. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes per 100 cm2 or 25 g. Poultry samples were contaminated with Salmonella (36.5%), C. jejuni and C. coli (28.5%), and L. monocytogenes (38.2%). In about 12.3% of the poultry samples, the L. monocytogenes contamination level exceeded 1 CFU per g or cm2. Significant differences in pathogen contamination rates of poultry products were noticed between the poultry products originating from Belgian, French, and U.K. abattoirs. Poultry products derived from broiler chickens running free in pine woods until slaughtering age (12 to 13 weeks) had a significantly (P < 0.05) lower contamination rate of Salmonella than poultry products from enclosed broilers slaughtered at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. A significantly (P < 0.05) lower pathogen contamination rate was noted for Salmonella, C. jejuni, and C. coli for poultry cuts without skin compared to poultry cuts with skin on. An increase in pathogen contamination rate was noticed during cutting and further processing. To diminish C. jejuni, C. coli, Salmonella, and L. monocytogenes contamination rates, hygienic rules of slaughter and meat processing must be rigorously observed. At the moment, zero tolerance for these pathogens is not feasible, and there is a need to establish criteria allowing these pathogens to be present at reasonable levels in the examined poultry samples.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, University of Ghent, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium 2: Delhaize–The Lion, Bettegemlaan, 1730 Zellik, Belgium

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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