Potential of Escherichia coli as a surrogate indicator for postchill broiler carcasses with high Campylobacter counts

Ihab Habib, Lieven De Zutter, Xavier Van Huffel, Annemie H. Geeraerd, Mieke Uyttendaele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Surrogating Campylobacter contamination level in broiler carcasses with other bacterial indicators, used to evaluate the hygienic status of the slaughterline operations, might be stimulation to the broiler meat industry to improve control of Campylobacter during slaughter. Theoretically, Escherichia coli might have some practical merits as a potential indicator for carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter. This study investigates the correlation between the counts of E. coli and Campylobacter in 231 postchill broiler carcasses. The impact of setting a process hygiene target based on E. coli counts on reducing the frequency of carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter at level of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g was also investigated. Almost half (48.9% (46/94)) of the carcasses with enumerable Campylobacter (≥1 log 10 CFU/g) had E. coli counts between 3 and 4 log 10 CFU/g. In addition, 54.8% (17/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g were correlated with E. coli count range of ≥3 & <4 log 10 CFU/g. A theoretical scenario assuming that hygiene and processing measures could allow achieving a target for E. coli that not exceeding 3 log 10 CFU/g showed a parallel impact on Campylobacter contamination in broiler carcasses. In such scenario, the overall number of Campylobacter-positive carcasses could be dropped from 40.6% to 12.5%; in addition, 80.6% (25/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g could be eliminated. Findings from this study reveal that a hygiene target based on E. coli count could be used as an indirect sanitary tool for reducing the level of Campylobacter contamination in postchill broiler carcasses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalFood Control
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Broiler carcasses
  • Campylobacter
  • Escherichia coli
  • Process hygiene criteria
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science

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