Danish poultry sector steps up to stem campylobacter

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Treating carcasses with steam and ultrasound decontaminates chicken
Treating carcasses with steam and ultrasound decontaminates chicken

Related tags Chicken

The UK could learn some lessons from the Danish experience as its poultry sector seeks to stem soaring levels of the bacterium campylobacter in the food chain.‘Quote marks’“Double quote”

The new Danish campylobacter strategy aims to reduce the incidents of campylobacteriosis from contaminated chickens by up to 20% by 2016. Incidents of this disease have reached record levels​ across the EU in recent years.

Danish strategy

The Danish strategy is targeting a reduction in primary production and in slaughterhouses, by techniques such as the use of fly screens to reduce the incidence of campylobacter-positive flocks. It is also investigating decontamination approaches at the end of slaughter lines, including the use of steam and ultrasound to treat the surfaces of chicken carcasses.

The Danes are making use of decontamination techniques developed by Force Technology, which have been tested at its slaughter plants. Equipment was installed online before the inside/outside bird-washer and tested on campylobacter-positive flocks. “The results are very promising,”​ says Hanieh Mousavian, an engineer with Force Technology.

“The most interesting feature of the steam-ultrasound (SonoSteam) technology is that a treatment time of only 1.0–1.5 seconds is sufficient to achieve significant high campylobacter reductions on chicken carcasses without the thermal changes on skin and meat.”

6,000–14,000 birds an hour

The equipment was constructed to be used in any slaughter process line with speeds from 6,000–14,000 birds an hour, she says.

Independent tests have shown campylobacter reductions of up to 2.0 log units on treated carcasses, depending on the initial contamination levels, she adds.

In a separate development, life sciences firm Merck Millipore has launched Singlepath, a direct and fast test kit for campylobacter in poultry for use on farms. It is claimed to deliver results on-site in less than two hours compared with the traditional methods of 48 hours or three hours by real-time polymerase chain reaction.

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