Control of Campylobacter jejuni in chicken breast meat by irradiation combined with modified atmosphere packaging including carbon monoxide

J Food Prot. 2012 Oct;75(10):1728-33. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-178.


Campylobacter is one of the leading causes of human foodborne illnesses originating from meat and poultry products. Cross-contamination of this organism occurs in many poultry processing plants, and can occur in the kitchens and refrigerators of consumers. Therefore, new intervention strategies are needed for meat and poultry products to better protect consumers from this pathogen. Vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging is a common packaging technique used by the meat and poultry industry to extend the shelf life of meat products. In addition, irradiation has been well established as an antibacterial treatment to reduce pathogens on meat and poultry products. Irradiation in combination with high-CO(2) + CO modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) was investigated in this study for the control of Campylobacter jejuni in chicken breast meat. The radiation sensitivity (D(10)-value) of this foodborne pathogen in chicken breast meat was similar in vacuum or high-O(2) MAP (0.31 ± 0.01 kGy in vacuum packaging and 0.29 ± 0.03 kGy in MAP). C. jejuni survived in both vacuum and high-CO(2) MAP through 6 weeks of refrigerated storage. Irradiation was effective for eliminating C. jejuni from meat or poultry packaged in vacuum or MAP, and should reduce the chance of cross-contamination in retail stores or home kitchens. However, irradiated off-odor and sour aroma were observed for raw, irradiated chicken breast packaged with either vacuum or MAP. Therefore, additional means to mitigate quality changes appear necessary for these products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Campylobacter jejuni / growth & development*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / radiation effects
  • Carbon Monoxide / metabolism
  • Chickens
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Food Irradiation*
  • Food Packaging / methods*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Meat / radiation effects
  • Vacuum


  • Carbon Monoxide