Improvements needed to control Campylobacter in German poultry

| April 15, 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-chicken-breast-food-tray-image21348854The latest annual report on zoonoses (infections transmissible from animals to humans) in Germany, prepared by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), reveals that neither the detection rate for Campylobacter in food nor the number of reported infections fell in 2013, despite extensive efforts to control the pathogen.

The BfR report is compiled from data provided by regional authorities, federal government bodies and national reference laboratories and provides an overview of pathogens relevant to consumer health and the foods through which they are transmitted. The aim is to inform the development of better control measures in the food supply chain.

The 2013 report shows that, while the number of cases of salmonellosis continued to fall following the successful introduction of controls in the poultry industry, the same was not true for Campylobacter. A total of 63,600 cases of campylobacteriosis were reported during the year and the pathogen was frequently isolated from poultry meat. The BfR attributes this to inadequate controls for preventing cross contamination of meat from feathers and intestines during slaughter and processing.

The BfR report recommends that zoonoses control in poultry farming should be maintained, while controls in the slaughtering and processing sector need to be strengthened. The report also highlights the risks from Listeria monocytogenes in fishery products, dairy goods and vegetables and from verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) in beef products.

The full report (in German) can be downloaded from the BfR website here.

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