Campylobacter contamination on broiler carcasses of Campylobacter colonized flocks was quantified at seven sampling sites throughout the slaughter process. For this purpose, in four slaughterhouses samples were collected from twelve Campylobacter positive batches. Broilers from all visits carried high numbers of campylobacters in their caeca (≥7.9log10cfu/g). Campylobacter counts on feathers (up to 6.8log10cfu/g), positively associated with the breast skin contamination of incoming birds and carcasses after plucking, were identified as an additional source of carcass contamination. A high variability in Campylobacter carcass contamination on breast skin samples within batches and between batches in the same slaughterhouse and between slaughterhouses was observed. In slaughterhouses A, B, C and D Campylobacter counts exceeded a limit of 1000cfu/g on 50%, 56%, 78% and 11% of carcasses after chilling, respectively. This finding indicates that certain slaughterhouses are able to better control Campylobacter contamination than others. Overall, the present study focuses on the descriptive analysis of Campylobacter counts in different slaughterhouses, different batches within a slaughterhouse and within a batch at several sampling locations.
Keywords: Poultry; Quantification; Slaughterhouse; Variability.
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