A comparison of European surveillance programs for campylobacter in broilers

Abbey Olsen*, Silvia Bonardi, Lisa Barco, Marianne Sandberg, Nina Langkabel, Mati Roasto, Michał Majewski, Brigitte Brugger, Arja H. Kautto, Bojan Blagojevic, Joao B. Cota, Gunvor Elise Nagel-Alne, Adeline Huneau, Riikka Laukkanen-Ninios, Sophie Lebouquin-Leneveu, Ole Alvseike, Maria Fredriksson-Ahomaa, Madalena Vieira-Pinto, Eija Kaukonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Campylobacter is an important foodborne pathogen as it is associated with significant disease burden across Europe. Among various sources, Campylobacter infections in humans are often related to the consumption of undercooked poultry meat or improper handling of poultry meat. Many European countries have implemented measures to reduce human exposure to Campylobacter from broiler meat. In this paper, surveillance programs implemented in some European countries is summarized. Our findings reveal that many European countries test neck skin samples for Campylobacter as per the Process Hygiene Criteria (PHC) set by the European Regulation. Variations to the legal plan are seen in some countries, as in Norway and Iceland, where weekly sampling is performed during infection peak periods only, or in Iceland, where the Campylobacter limit is set at 500 CFU/g instead of 1000 CFU/g. Furthermore, northern European countries have implemented national Campylobacter surveillance plans. Denmark tests cloaca samples at slaughterhouses and meat samples at retail, while Finland, Norway, and Sweden test ceca at slaughterhouses. In contrast, Iceland tests feces on farms. Iceland and Norway test flocks close to the slaughter date and when a farm tests positive, competent authority implement measures such as logistic slaughter, heat treatment or freeze the meat from these flocks. In Iceland, frozen meat is further processed prior to being put on the market. While the incidence of campylobacteriosis has declined in all European countries except France since the introduction of PHC in 2018, it is uncertain whether this decrease is due to prevalence reduction or underreporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future investigations with more comprehensive data, devoid of potential confounding factors, are necessary to validate this potential trend. However, it is evident that the implementation of national action plans can be successful in reducing the incidence of human campylobacteriosis, as demonstrated by Iceland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110059
JournalFood Control
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Campylobacter
  • Surveillance
  • Monitoring
  • Broilers
  • Poultry
  • Europe


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