Title page for ETD etd-02272006-101843

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Bartkowiak-Higgo, Antje
URN etd-02272006-101843
Document Title A survey of post-evisceration contamination of broiler carcasses and ready-to-sell livers and intestines (mala) with Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in a high throughput South African poultry abattoir
Degree MSc (Veterinary Science)
Department Paraclinical Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof E Venter Committee Co-Chair
Prof C M Veary Supervisor
  • no key words available
Date 2005-10-08
Availability unrestricted
The reported incidence of human campylobacteriosis has markedly increased in developed countries within the last 20 years. The prevalence and importance of Campylobacter spp. as the cause of human gastroenteritis in developing countries is not known, as information is limited due to a lack of national surveillance programmes in these countries. However, it seems likely that the rate of campylobacteriosis is high among infants and children below 2 years of age resulting in substantial morbidity and, to a lesser extent, mortality.

The aim of this study was to determine the extent of contamination and cross-contamination of poultry products with Campylobacter in a high-throughput South African chicken processing plant. It is the first research project for the evaluation of the zoonotic risk of Campylobacter for consumers in South Africa. While conventional culture-based detection methods of Campylobacter spp. usually need 4-6 days to produce a result, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method developed for this research project took less than 32 hours. Both strains, C. jejuni and C. coli, are the subject of this paper and will be collectively referred to as Campylobacter unless otherwise stated.

During the winter of 2004, 300 samples were randomly taken from 50 chicken carcasses directly after evisceration, as well as 25 samples from ready-to-sell packages of fresh intestines (mala) and livers. The samples were taken in batches over a time period of 4 weeks. All samples were examined by means of DNA extraction and PCR resulting in the following findings: The average contamination rates with Campylobacter for both the skin samples and livers were 24%, and for intestines a contamination rate of 28% was found. These results are in line with the findings of other authors.

Chicken and chicken products, especially livers and intestines form an important part of the traditional diet and reflect the special African situation. They are cheap and easily available outside supermarkets and other retail outlets. Street vendors and hawkers who do not have cooling facilities or access to and washing facilities sell the products. The break in the cold chain, especially under South African climatic conditions, favours the multiplication and consequently the increase of numbers of Campylobacter bacteria already present in the products. The handling of such contaminated products in households and the potential for cross-contamination of other foods presents a high risk of infection to consumers.

This research project concludes that Campylobacter is prevalent in poultry in South Africa and that the contamination of poultry meat and products with this organism could represent a health hazard for consumers in South Africa. It also emphasises the need for further research in this field.

Copyright 2005, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bartkowiak-Higgo, A 2005, A survey of post-evisceration contamination of broiler carcasses and ready-to-sell livers and intestines (mala) with Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in a high throughput South African poultry abattoir, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02272006-101843 / >

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