ABSTRACT

Raw meat and meat products contaminated with Clostridioides difficile could be a vehicle for spreading community-associated C. difficile infection. This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of C. difficile in pork and poultry meat samples (n = 325) from retail establishments and in edible giblet samples (n = 36) from a poultry processing plant in Murcia (southeastern Spain). C. difficile was isolated after selective enrichment from 2% (6 of 361) of the samples, all of which were from the poultry processing plant. These isolates were recovered from 17% (6 of 36) of the edible chicken giblets, i.e., 28% (5 of 18) of the gizzard samples and 6% (1 of 18) of the liver samples. All six C. difficile isolates were negative for toxin A and B genes by PCR assay. These findings indicate that C. difficile can survive in the gastric acid of the chicken gizzard and could be transmitted to other meat products. However, the very low prevalence of C. difficile in the tested samples indicates that retail meat may not be an important source for transmission of C. difficile to humans.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • C. difficile in chicken giblets and retail poultry meat and pork was investigated.

  • C. difficile was isolated from 17% (6 of 36) edible giblets at the slaughterhouse.

  • C. difficile spores may spread during meat processing at the slaughterhouse.

  • C. difficile was not isolated from pork or poultry meat from retail establishments.

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