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Baseline survey on the prevalence and concentration of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken meat on-farm and at primary processing

FSANZ was the coordinating agency for a baseline survey to obtain information on the likelihood of live chickens being contaminated on-farm with Salmonella and Campylobacter and also the likelihood of the chicken being contaminated after it has been slaughtered. Salmonella and Campylobacter are the two main bacteria that can be present on raw chicken and cause illness if the chicken isn’t cooked or handled correctly.

Salmonella and Campylobacter are killed by cooking. To handle chicken safely:

  • cook it thoroughly, until there is no pink visible and juices run clear
  • after handling raw chicken, wash and dry hands thoroughly
  • ensure all utensils that have been in contact with the raw chicken are also washed and dried thoroughly before being reused.

As this survey was testing live chickens and raw chicken carcasses, we expected to find Salmonella and Campylobacter. As in most poultry producing countries, Campylobacter and, to a lesser extent Salmonella, were frequently found in samples tested. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently reported similar results from a baseline survey undertaken by European Union Member States (published 17 March 2010). No poultry producing country has been able to eliminate Salmonella and Campylobacter from raw poultry. However, some countries have successfully reduced the amount of Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw chicken to some degree by improving practices and procedures on-farm and at the slaughtering facilities. These countries have found that this results in less illness in people.

As part of its through-chain approach to food regulation, FSANZ developed a Primary Production and Processing Standard for Poultry Meat, which requires poultry farmers and processors to ensure their practices and procedures are effective at lowering the likelihood of poultry being contaminated with Salmonella and Campylobacter. more

See the full survey results (PDF 616kb) or a shorter version (PDF 101kb) .

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