wellbeing news

Resistance Engine Chicken: There's a lot more to do

The process hygiene criterion of 1000 units of colonies per gram (cfu / g) for broiler carcasses has been introduced across the EU to reduce the incidence of Campylobacter in the poultry meat chain. This has been of little use so far.

Campylobacter and Co. in broilers

The process hygiene criterion of 1000 units of colonies per gram (cfu / g) for broiler carcasses has been introduced across the EU to reduce the incidence of Campylobacter in the poultry meat chain. From 01/01/2018 Companies that do not meet these requirements must take appropriate measures to ensure process hygiene. This has been of little use so far.

Detection rates from Campylobacter spp. The broiler chickens are still high. Nearly half of the broiler carcass samples (46.3%) and fresh chicken (47.8%) tested positive for Campylobacter as part of the 2018 zoonosis monitoring. Almost a quarter of the bodies had Campylobacter above 1000 cfu / g.

In 2017, before the introduction of the hygiene criteria for the procedure, 22.7% of the carcasses exceeded the stated value. Last year, the rate remained almost unchanged at 22.6%. The results highlighted the need for further efforts in this area to improve slaughter hygiene.


Salmonella was found to have 22.7% in turkey carcass samples, which is almost twice as frequent as in zoonotic surveillance in 2016 (with 11.9% positive samples). On the other hand, animals themselves were rarely carriers of Salmonella (0.2% positive samples of cecal content). The detection rate of salmonella in samples of fresh conventionally produced turkey meat was 4.0%, slightly higher than in the previous year (2.6%).

Increased levels of contamination of corpses at low levels of stress in animals indicate that improvements in hygiene practices in poultry slaughter are necessary because carcasses appear to cross-contaminate or transfer germs from the slaughter environment.

Listeria monocytogenes

In 3.4% of samples of chicken and / or turkey sausages that can be greased or sliced Listeria monocytogenes showed. However, the number of germs was low because no samples were Listeria above the detection limit of 10 KbE / g detected by the quantitative method. In comparison, germ levels in expanded raw pork sausages were determined in zoonotic monitoring in 2017 in individual samples. L. monocytogenes which posed a potential hazard to human health (220 CFU / g and 550 CFU / g).

E. Coli produced by ESBL / AmpC

ESBL / cAMP formation E. coli were detected in about half of the faeces samples from conventional fattening turkey farms (51.8% positive samples) and in 37.6% samples from conventionally produced turkey meat. In comparison, faeces samples from organic farms and, in particular, turkey meat samples with detection rates of 36.8% and 12.2%, were significantly less positive for ESBL / AmpC formation. E. coli.

The bacteria that produce ESBL / AmpC are characterized by the formation of enzymes that can reduce or eliminate the efficacy of penicillin and cephalosporin, making the bacteria insensitive to these antibiotics. The frequent detection of E. Coli produced by ESBL / AmpC in livestock is of concern because of the special importance of 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins for the treatment of humans, especially since current scientific knowledge suggests that these resistant bacteria can also be transmitted to humans via Food.

Antibiotic resistance patterns

The results of antibiotic resistance studies have shown that rates of resistance in many food chains and fattening turkeys are highest among livestock, reflecting the more frequent use of antibiotics in this group of animals compared to cattle and pigs. That was also striking E. coli-Isolates from organic turkey farms and from organic turkey meat had significantly lower rates of resistance (48.2%) than the corresponding isolates from conventional production (77.3%). In addition, organic production isolates showed a rare multiple resistance to three or more classes of substances compared to conventional and turkey farm isolates (17.7% vs. 42.9%).

These differences, already observed in the zoonotic surveillance of conventional and organic broiler farms in 2016, are likely to be associated with a lower incidence of antibiotics used on organic farms compared to conventional livestock. The high rates of resistance of more than 50% of bacterial isolates of broilers and fattening turkeys compared to fluoroquinolones make it clear that the use of this class of antibiotics in poultry should be particularly reduced, as it is considered to be particularly important for the treatment of antibiotics in humans.