Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans in North America. The handling and consumption of poultry has been identified as a major risk factor for infection by C. jejuni. Chicks, at one-day of age, are not colonized by C. jejuni, but by two weeks of age it is possible to detect colonization of birds. At time of slaughter, between 30 and 100% of the flocks are colonized. During the slaughter process C. jejuni may be spread to previously uncontaminated carcasses. Colonization of poultry produces no harmful effect in the birds. Reduction of the level of colonization of poultry has been identified as a priority to increase food safety by the industry.
The objective of this study is to investigate factors which contribute to the colonization of poultry by C. jejuni, as well as that are important in the spread of C. jejuni from one animal to another.
Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario: Reduction of the level of colonization of poultry by C. jejuni is a priority of the poultry industry in Ontario and Canada. The organisms are common in the environment and this makes exclusion by use of biosecurity alone generally unfeasible. The efficiency by which C. jejuni colonizes poultry is very strain dependent. The results of this study will greatly improve a complete understanding of the process of the colonization of poultry by C. jejuni, which will facilitate the development of control strategies to prevent this problem and enhance food safety. <P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.