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Local meat, milk and raw salads carry high levels of Campylobacter

KARACHI: A surveillance study was carried out to determine the prevalence of Campylobacter in meat, milk and other food commodities in Pakistan. Over a period of 3 years (January 2002-December 2004), a total of 1,636 food samples of meat, milk and other food commodities were procured from three big cities of Pakistan (Faisalabad, Lahore and Islamabad) and were analysed.

The study appeared in the journal Food Microbiology and was conducted by experts at the University of Agriculture, Faislabad.

Among meat samples, the highest prevalence (48 percent) of Campylobacter was recorded in raw chicken meat followed by raw beef (10.9 percent) and raw mutton (5.1 percent). Among other food commodities, the highest prevalence was observed in vegetable/fruit salads (40.9 percent), sandwiches (32 percent), cheese (11 percent) and raw bulk milk samples (10.2 percent). The overall prevalence of Campylobacter was found to be 21.5 percent, out of which 70.6 percent were identi?ed as Campylobacter (C.) jejuni and 29.4 percent as C. coli. The study reported that the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was signi?cantly higher in food commodities which included raw/undercooked ingredients.

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