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Prevalence, Numbers, and Subtypes of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in Uncooked Retail Meat Samples

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A national quantitative survey of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in 1,011 uncooked retail meat samples (beef, unweaned veal, chicken, lamb and mutton, and pork) was undertaken from August 2003 to June 2004 to establish baseline proportionality data. The presence, number, and type of Campylobacter present in each sample was assessed. Prevalences of C. jejuni and C. coli were 89.1% in chicken, 9.1% in pork, 6.9% in lamb and mutton, 3.5% in beef, and 10% in unweaned veal. C. jejuni was identified in the majority of positive samples (246 of 259). In chicken samples positive for C. jejuni, 40.2% had counts of <0.3 most probable number (MPN)/g, 50.5% had 0.3 to 10.0 MPN/g, 8.8% had 10.1 to 50.0 MPN/g, and 0.5% had 110 MPN/g. In other meats (49 samples), Campylobacter counts were ≤0.3 MPN/g, except for one unweaned veal sample at >10.9 MPN/g. Penner serotyping and SmaI macrorestriction genotyping using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with 247 isolates revealed 17 Penner serotypes and 56 electrophoresis profiles. Seven Penner serotypes (HS1 complex, 2, 4 complex, 6, 11, 27, and 42) were represented by 10 or more isolates from chicken. When data from both typing methods were combined, 62 sero-genotypes were generated. In a comparison of these sero-genotypes with historical data for isolates from human cases, 71% of the beef isolates, 50% of the lamb and mutton isolates, 50% of the pork isolates, 41% of the chicken isolates, and 25% of the unweaned veal isolates were common to both sources. These results provide baseline proportionality profiles of Campylobacter in these five meats and will facilitate exposure assessment in combination with other information such as consumption data and subsequent quantitative risk assessment.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Food Safety Programme, Christchurch Science Centre, Institute of Environmental Science and Research, P.O. Box 29-181, Christchurch, New Zealand 2: Enteric Reference Laboratory, Kenepuru Science Centre, Institute of Environmental Science and Research, P.O. Box 50-348, Porirua, New Zealand 3: New Zealand Food Safety Authority, P.O. Box 2835, Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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