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A Microbiological Survey of Campylobacter Contamination in Fresh, Whole, UK-Produced Chilled Chicken at Retail Sale


<p>A pilot study was undertaken in preparation for this survey, which ended in October 2013.</p>

<p>The project will achieve a robust estimate of Campylobacter counts on fresh UK whole chickens, and enable comparison with previous data on antibiotic resistance proportions. It will also:</p>

<li>determine levels of Campylobacter spp. in skin samples from 4,000 whole UK-produced chilled chickens</li>
<li>determine levels of Campylobacter spp. on the outer packaging of 4,000 whole UK-produced chilled chickens</li>
<li>undertake statistical analysis of the distribution of counts of Campylobacter spp. from the chicken and outer packaging samples to determine significant factors affecting the distributions</li>
<li>ascertain the proportion of strains isolated that are Campylobacter jejuni, C. coli or other Campylobacter spp</li>
<li>establish what proportion of strains within the Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli isolated are resistant to a range of antimicrobial agents relevant to public health using an established standard method</li>
<li>enable a comparison between post-chill counts and retail counts by providing data in a suitable database format</li>

<p>Samples will be collected in from retail premises in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to reflect population sizes in these countries (and in English regions), and will be sampled evenly throughout the year.</p>

<p>Quarterly interim reports will be published on the FSA website, as well as a final project report.</p>

More information

<p>Background: The results of the survey should allow benchmarking to determine if changes of practice at the slaughterhouse are reflected in a reduction of contamination at retail. The survey will also determine the extent of contamination on the exterior of packaging, which can also present a health risk. The results will help us to assess the impact of the introduction of leak-proof packaging for whole, raw chicken. </p>

Public Health England
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