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Reduction in flock prevalence of Campylobacter spp. In broilers in Norway after implementation of an action plan

October 2005
Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 68, No. 10, pp. 2220–2223.
An action plan against thermophilic Campylobacter spp. in Norwegian broilers was implemented in May 2001. The action plan consists of three parts: a surveillance program including all Norwegian broiler flocks slaughtered before 50 days of age, a follow-up advisory service on farms delivering flocks positive for Campylobacter spp., and surveys of broiler meat products at the retail level. This article presents results covering the inclusive 3-year period between 2002 and 2004. During this period, a total of 10,803 flocks from 562 broiler farms were tested; altogether, 521 (4.8%) of the flocks were identified as positive for Campylobacter spp., primarily Campylobacter jejuni. The positive flocks originated from 257 (45.7%) of the farms. During the period 2002 to 2004, there was a large and steady reduction in flock prevalence, from 6.3% in 2002 to 3.3% in 2004. Also, the proportion of farms producing flocks positive for Campylobacter spp. each year reduced substantially, from 28.4% in 2002 to 17.8% in 2004. The proportion of flocks positive for Campylobacter spp. varied considerably with season and region. The action plan is a successful collaboration between academia, regulatory agencies, and the poultry industry that has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of broiler carcasses positive for Campylobacter spp. on the market. The temporal associations between implementation of the control program and the drop in the number of infected chickens and contaminated carcasses indicate that this collaborative action plan has been instrumental in achieving the goals of enhancing food safety.
Merete Hofshagen,a and Hilde Kruse,a
aNorwegian Zoonosis Centre, National Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 8156 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway