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Quantification of campylobacter on the surface and in the muscle of chicken legs at retail

April 2006
Journal of Food Protection, Volume 69, Number 4, pp. 757-761(5)
Scherer, Kathrin et al
Abstract:
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and numbers of Campylobacter on the skin and in the muscle of chicken legs at retail to examine the external and internal contamination for an exposure assessment. Furthermore, the study assessed seasonal influence on Campylobacter contamination in chicken legs. Of the 140 examined skin samples, 66% were positive, and the internal contamination of 115 sampled chicken legs was 27%. The enumeration of Campylobacter on the surface of positive chicken legs revealed a median of 2.4 log CFU/g of skin, and the quantification of Campylobacter in the muscle gave results mainly under the detection limit of the most-probable-number method (<0.3 MPN Campylobacter per g). The external contamination was significantly higher than the internal. In both skin and muscle samples, Campylobacter jejuni had a much higher incidence than Campylobacter coli. However, with regard to the specification of Campylobacter on the surface of chicken legs, C. coli was isolated at higher colony counts than C. jejuni. During the 1-year study, two peaks of Campylobacter contamination occurred, one in the early springtime (February and March, 100 and 90%, respectively) and the second during the warmer months in the summer (July and August, both 90%). Furthermore, a positive correlation between prevalence and numbers of Campylobacter on chicken legs was observed.