April 14, 2015
Contamination of poultry meat in Germany still pervasive, says survey
Cases of Salmonella poisoning in Germany are on the decline, albeit those related to Campylobacter have not abated, according to a survey on foodborne pathogens in poultry meat conducted by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
Examining figures from 2013, the report discovered about 19,000 cases of salmonellosis in Germany. Still, drops were observed in both the numbers of food poisoning and contaminated food.
On the other hand, campylobacteriosis, the most common form of zoonotic contamination, saw 63,600 cases in the same year. The report identified poultry as the most common cause of food poisoning from the bacteria, and poultry slaughter processes as the usual way for meats to be contaminated with both Salmonella and Campylobacter.
While Germany has the right tools to deal with foodborne pathogens, the report's bleak conclusion is that the contamination of poultry carcasses to food is not preventable.
"We must continue to control zoonoses in poultry production and identify them at slaughter," said Professor Andreas Hensel, the president of BfR.
He also advised on the importance of control measures in preparing food as well as hygiene precautions to avert food poisoning.
According to the BfR survey, strong measures against Salmonella among poultry flocks have led to a decrease in the number of infected birds although the bacteria are still found in poultry meat. Contamination continues to occur during slaughter and cross-contaminations with other livestock species.
At present, there are no adequately potent methods in keeping transmission of pathogens from bird's feather and intestinal tract to the meat.
On a positive note, the report claimed a rarity of other pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and verotoxin-producing E.coli (VTEC), found in food.