May 9, 2022


Denmark reveals new plan to fight Campylobacter infections


Denmark has unveiled a new plan to tackle Campylobacter and reduce the number of people getting ill from it.


The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) said the risk of getting sick from Danish chicken meat has gone down since 2013 and sampling shows the pathogen is more often found on imported chicken.


The action plan for 2022 to 2026 was created with industry and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).


Every year, about 4,000 people in Denmark become ill from Campylobacter in food. The University of Copenhagen has calculated the socio-economic costs of a single registered case of Campylobacter at US$35,400. Overall, this corresponds to more than US$140 million per year.


"The main focus of our strategy and action plan is on chicken meat, which is the largest source of infection," said Fødevarestyrelsen's Annette Perge.


In addition to the focus on Campylobacter in broiler production, other key areas will be detection in the event of outbreaks and uncovering sources of infection other than chicken.


The document reflects changing forms of production, such as more outdoor flocks and slower production processes due to welfare issues. There is also a stated aim for the risk of getting sick from eating chicken meat to be reduced by 50% compared to 2013. While this has not yet been achieved, the risk has dropped by 25%.


Another goal for broiler flocks was to maintain the incidence of Campylobacter at the same level as in 2017 which was 17.6%. This target was also missed but incidence fell from 24.6% in 2018 to 20.4% in 2020.


For the 2022-2026 period, goals will be set to reduce the consumer's risk of becoming ill from Danish chicken meat. Individual targets will be in place for large and medium-sized slaughterhouses.


The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration is also working on a model to publish the results from monitoring of Danish and imported chicken at retail.


Efforts will see how whole genome sequencing can be used to a greater extent to find problems in slaughterhouses and flocks, the development of a cheaper and faster method for typing Campylobacter and to trace sources of infection. Data sharing between poultry slaughterhouses and authorities will also be assessed.


Monitoring of Campylobacter in broilers may be adjusted based on the choice of sample type, sampling point and sample size. Source attribution work will continue with a focus on poultry.


Measures to prevent or reduce infected flocks will be looked at such as feed additives, altered production methods, refrigeration techniques and surface treatments.


- Food Safety News

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