[en] The presence of Campylobacter was assessed in different samples of poultry, pork and beef meat and carcasses from slaughterhouses, production plants and retail level. An introductory study from 1997 to 1999, had the purpose of establishing the optimum dilution to detect changes in prevalence and allowed a semi-quantitative estimation of poultry and pork contamination. Following this, between 2000 and 2003, 4254 samples were taken in order to study the trends. The poultry matrixes represented the greatest number and the most highly contaminated samples, with 30.9% (in 0.01 g) positive samples, 18.7% (in 1 g), 46.9% (in 25 g) and 19.6% (in 0.01 g) for broiler carcasses, broiler fillets, prepared chicken and layer carcasses, respectively. Broiler carcasses and fillets sampled at retail level were significantly less contaminated than samples from production plants. Pork, beef and veal samples were rarely contaminated and, where contamination existed, it was at a low prevalence (maximum 5.0%). The high and unvarying prevalence of Campylobacter in poultry necessitates the implementation of intervention measures at the primary production level, in addition to methods of minimizing cross-contamination at the processing level. A survey plan in line with the present study could be used in the future to monitor the effects of the planned measures and performance objectives and to follow the evolution of Campylobacter contamination at all stages of the food chain, in accordance with European legislation. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Agence fédérale pour la Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire - AFSCA