Variation in Campylobacter distribution on different sites of broiler carcasses

Julie Baré, Mieke Uyttendaele, Ihab Habib, Orily Depraetere, Kurt Houf, Lieven De Zutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Campylobacter is one of the most important agents of human bacterial enteritis in the western world, with handling and consumption of raw or undercooked chicken meat as the main source of infection. Until today, extensive quantitative data on Campylobacter distribution patterns on broiler carcasses is lacking in the published literature. This study therefore compared Campylobacter concentrations on six skin sites of broiler carcasses post-chilling. Results obtained show that Campylobacter was distributed over the whole broiler carcass, though variation between skin sites was detected. Abdominal and back skin samples revealed a significantly lower occurrence of Campylobacter than other skin sites. Neck skin was one of the most Campylobacter positive carcass sites and contained the highest contamination levels (3.45 ± 1.10 log10 cfu/g). From all tested skin sites, breast and wing skin samples showed the highest correlated Campylobacter concentrations with the neck skin samples. In addition, analyzing only one carcass sampling site does not always reflect the high Campylobacter contamination level (≥3 log10 cfu/g) of a broiler carcass. In conclusion, the variation in the Campylobacter concentrations between skin sites of broiler carcasses should be considered when Campylobacter enumeration data are interpreted and used in risk assessment models. Further, obtained results are useful both at a national and a community level to support decisions on setting microbiological criteria or on sampling strategies in the frame of Campylobacter monitoring and control programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalFood Control
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Broiler carcasses
  • Campylobacter enumeration
  • Skin sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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