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Campylobacter Contamination during Poultry Slaughter in Belgium

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The relation between internal carriage and surface contamination with thermophilic Campylobacter species in broilers was examined by molecular typing methods. Samples from 39 flocks were collected in three Belgian poultry slaughterhouses. From each flock, crop swabs before slaughter and intestines and neck skins during slaughter were collected. A total of 309 isolates were identified at species level and further characterized by flagellin gene A PCR/restriction fragment length polymorphism and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Isolates were identified as Campylobacter jejuni (90%), Campylobacter coli (8.7%), and Campylobacter lari (2.2%), and 27 genotypes could be distinguished by combining the two molecular methods. Seventy-two percent of the flocks arriving at the abattoir were colonized with campylobacters. After slaughter, 79% of the flocks had contaminated neck skins. In six flocks, genotypes isolated from the neck skins were also found in the alimentary tract from previously slaughtered flocks. Four of these flocks were initially free of Campylobacter. These four flocks might have had no contaminated carcasses after logistic slaughtering.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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