Campylobacter jejuni survival in a poultry processing plant environment

Food Microbiol. 2017 Aug;65:185-192. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Campylobacteriosis is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. Consumption of poultry, especially chicken's meat is considered the most common route for human infection. The aim of this study was to determine if Campylobacter spp. might persist in the poultry plant environment before and after cleaning and disinfection procedures and the distribution and their genetic relatedness. During one month from a poultry plant were analyzed a total of 494 samples -defeathering machine, evisceration machine, floor, sink, conveyor belt, shackles and broiler meat- in order to isolate C. jejuni and C. coli. Results showed that C. jejuni and C. coli prevalence was 94.5% and 5.5% respectively. Different typing techniques as PFGE, MLST established seven C. jejuni genotypes. Whole genome MLST strongly suggest that highly clonal populations of C. jejuni can survive in adverse environmental conditions, even after cleaning and disinfection, and persist for longer periods than previous thought (at least 21 days) in the poultry plant environment. Even so, it might act as a source of contamination independently of the contamination level of the flock entering the slaughter line.

Keywords: Campylobacteriosis; Cross-contamination; MLST; PFGE; Persistence; wgMLST.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Campylobacter jejuni / genetics
  • Campylobacter jejuni / physiology*
  • Disinfection
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Food Handling / instrumentation*
  • Food Handling / standards
  • Food Microbiology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Microbial Viability
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Phylogeny
  • Poultry / microbiology*