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Quantification of Campylobacter in Swine before, during, and after the Slaughter Process

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Campylobacter has been implicated as a major cause of foodborne illness worldwide. Pigs can be subclinically infected, and fecal contamination of meat during slaughter is a food safety risk. The objective of this study was to determine the association between the concentration of Campylobacter pre- and periharvest with postharvest contamination in swine. Samples were collected from 100 individually identified swine during the pre-, peri-, and postharvest periods. For each animal, the following phases were sampled: on farm (fecal sample), in lairage (hide swab), post-stunning and exsanguination (rectal contents), prechilling (carcass swab), and final product (rib meat) sample. The proportions of samples that were Campylobacter positive were 90, 95, 76, 100, and 49% for fecal, rectal content, hide, carcass, and rib meat samples, respectively. The mean Campylobacter concentrations for each sample were fecal sample, 1.7 × 106 CFU/g; rectal content, 1.2 × 107 CFU/g; hide swab, 1.4 CFU/cm2; carcass swab, 1.7 × 103 CFU per half carcass; and rib meat, 18 CFU/g. There was a positive correlation between Campylobacter concentrations in fecal samples (R = 0.20, P = 0.065) and concentration of Campylobacter on rib meat, and between rectal content sample concentration (R = 0.20, P = 0.068) and the concentration on rib meat. There was no association between the isolation of Campylobacter on rib meat and the isolation of Campylobacter at any pre- or periharvest stage. This could indicate that the risk of a meat product being contaminated is associated with pigs that shed higher concentrations of Campylobacter before slaughter.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-334

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA 2: Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA 3: Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA. funkj@cvm.msu.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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