Prevalence of Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter jejuni in retail chicken, beef, lamb, and pork products in three Australian States

Liz J. Walker, Rhiannon L. Wallace, James J. Smith, Trudy Graham, Themy Saputra, Sally Symes, Anastasia Stylianopoulos, Benjamin G. Polkinghorne, Martyn D. Kirk, Kathryn Glass*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and distribution of Campylobacter species in a variety of fresh and frozen meat and offal products collected from retail outlets in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (Qld), and Victoria (Vic). A total of 1,490 chicken, beef, lamb, and pork samples were collected from Australian supermarkets and butcher shops over a 2- year sampling period (October 2016 to October 2018). Campylobacter spp. were detected in 90% of chicken meat and 73% of chicken offal products (giblet and liver), with significantly lower prevalence in lamb (38%), pork (31%), and beef (14%) offal (kidney and liver). Although retail chicken meat was frequently contaminated with Campylobacter, the level of contamination was generally low. Where quantitative analysis was conducted, 98% of chicken meat samples, on average, had <10,000 CFU Campylobacter per carcass, with 10% <21 CFU per carcass. Campylobacter coli was the most frequently recovered species in chicken meat collected in NSW (53%) and Vic (56%) and in chicken offal collected in NSW (77%), Qld (59%), and Vic (58%). In beef, lamb, and pork offal, C. jejuni was generally the most common species (50 to 86%), with the exception of pork offal collected in NSW, where C. coli was more prevalent (69%). Campylobacter prevalence was significantly higher in fresh lamb (46%) and pork (31%) offal than in frozen offal (17 and 11%, respectively). For chicken, beef, and pork offal, the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was significantly higher on delicatessen products compared with prepackaged products. This study demonstrated that meat and offal products are frequently contaminated with Campylobacter. However, the prevalence is markedly different in different meats, and the level of chicken meat portion contamination is generally low. By identifying the types of meat and offal products types that pose the greatest risk of Campylobacter infection to consumers, targeted control strategies can be developed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2126-2134
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Food Protection
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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