Skinning and freezing could help reduce Campylobacter spp. levels in processed poultry, study

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Two Belgian poultry processing firms with recognised food safety management systems (FSMS) should consider further measures such as skinning carcasses and freezing to reduce high Campylobacter spp. levels in poultry products, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Production.

The authors concluded: “Risk managers must be aware that a certified FSMS based on sound HACCP [hazard analysis critical control point] plans, good manufacturing practices, pre-requisite programs and legal requirements is, in the specific case of poultry meat production, not a guarantee for the absence of pathogens and a good food safety outcome.”

Other suggested measures include using modified atmosphere packaging or vacuum packaging to increase product safety and shelf life, as well as better staff hygiene training and product-specific sanitation.

EU-wide problem
Campylobacter is the leading cause of food borne bacterial gastrointestinal illness in Belgium, with a notification rate of 58.8 cases per 100,000 people. This reflects EU-wide patterns: recent Food Standards Agency (FSA) statistics show that over 320,000 UK cases of food poisoning a year occur when consumers eat undercooked meat.

In July the FSA announced a five-year action plan to improve risk management processes throughout the supply chain, while the Danish government is investing DKK 25m (€3.3m) annually until 2012 to investigate pathogens.

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