• Open Access

Analysis of the baseline survey on the prevalence of Campylobacter in broiler batches and of Campylobacter and Salmonella on broiler carcasses, in the EU, 2008 - Part B: Analysis of factors associated with Campylobacter colonisation of broiler batches and with Campylobacter contamination of broiler carcasses; and investigation of the culture method diagnostic characteristics used to analyse broiler carcass samples


  • European Food Safety Authority

  • Correspondence: zoonoses@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: EFSA wishes to thank the members of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection: Andrea Ammon, Marta Bedriova, Susan Chircop, Georgi Chobanov, Veronica Cibin, Jürg Danuser, Kris De Smet, Emma Martín Denia, Matthias Hartung, Birgitte Helwigh, Merete Hofshagen, Simona Iannetti, Patrícia Inácio, Sarolta Idei, Helle Korsgaard, Elina Lahti, Lesley Larkin, Jose Luis Saez Llorente, Peter Much, Edith Nagy, Iona Neghirla, Lisa O'Connor, Rob Van Oosterom, Jacek Osek, Manca Pavšič, Christodoulos Pipis, Saara Raulo, Tatjana Ribakova, Julien Santolini, Petr Šatrán, Joseph Schon, Jelena Sõgel, Snieguole Sceponaviciene, Kilian Unger, Luc Vanholme and Dimitris Vourvidis for the endorsement of the report; the members of the Working Group on the analysis of 2008 broiler carcasses baseline survey: Dirk Berkvens, Enne de Boer, Marjaana Hakkinen, Mary Howell, Annemarie Kaesbohrer, Micheál O'Mahony, Eva Olsson Engvall, Hanne Rosenquist, Moez Sanaa, Mieke Uyttendaele, Arjen van de Giessen and Jaap Wagenaar for the preparation of this EFSA scientific output; Diane Newell and Arie Havelaar for the peer review; the EFSA's contractors: Lieven De Zutter from University of Ghent, Saskia Litière and Marc Aerts from University of Hasselt and Alessandro Mannelli from University of Turin, and the EFSA's staff members: Maria Teresa Da Silva Felício, Kenneth Mulligan and Frank Boelaert for the support provided to this EFSA scientific output.
  • Approval date: 22 July 2010
  • Published date: 5 August 2010
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2008-416B
  • On request from: European Commission


A European Union-wide baseline survey on Campylobacter in broiler batches and on broiler carcasses was carried out in 2008. From each of the 10,132 randomly selected batches, pooled caecal contents samples of slaughtered broilers were taken in 561 slaughterhouses and examined for the presence of Campylobacter. From the same batches one carcass was collected after chilling, from which neck skin together with breast skin was examined for the presence of Campylobacter and the Campylobacter count was determined. Multivariable regression analysis showed that a Campylobacter-colonised broiler batch was about 30 times more likely to have the sampled carcass contaminated with Campylobacter, compared to a non-colonised batch. Also, a higher Campylobacter count on carcasses was strongly associated with Campylobacter colonisation of the batch. Contaminated carcasses could also derive from non-colonised broiler batches. Both the risks for Campylobacter-contaminated carcasses and for Campylobacter colonisation of batches increased with the age of the slaughtered broilers as well as during certain months of the year - with the period July-September being the quarter at most risk. Processing later during the day increased the risk of Campylobacter contamination of carcasses. Batches originating from previously thinned flocks were more at risk of being colonised with Campylobacter. The risks for contamination of carcasses with Campylobacter, for higher Campylobacter counts on carcasses and for colonisation of batches with Campylobacter all varied significantly between countries and between slaughterhouses within countries, even when other associated factors were accounted for. Investigation of the culture method results used to estimate the prevalence of Campylobacter-contaminated broiler carcasses showed that the diagnostic sensitivity of the detection test may have varied between Member States.