Foodborne campylobacteriosis has been traced to undercooked chicken liver dishes; thus, it is important to use the best available culture methods when testing for the presence of Campylobacter. We compared two Campylobacter enrichment broths—Bolton formulation and Neogen formulation—in combination with three selective plating media—Campy-Cefex, Campy-Line and RF Campylobacter agars—for detection of Campylobacter from fresh retail chicken livers. In each of three experiments, nine replicate tubs of chicken livers were sampled by drawing exudate and a pooled rinse of five whole liver lobes. Results are reported as number positive and compared by Fisher's exact test. In experiment 1, no combination of enrichment and plating media significantly outperformed another for detection of Campylobacter (P > 0.05); all tubs were found to include Campylobacter in both exudate and liver rinse. In experiment 2, serial dilutions of samples were plated before and after enrichment. Exudate was found to be significantly more likely than rinse to support detection of Campylobacter by direct plating (P < 0.05); most exudate samples included at least 10 CFU Campylobacter per mL. Enrichment improved detection from rinse, but not exudate; all enrichment and plating combinations resulted ≥1,000 CFU/mL from most enriched samples. In experiment 3, samples were diluted before enrichment to determine effect of enrichment on ever lower numbers of Campylobacter. Enrichment did not improve recovery of Campylobacter from exudate or undiluted rinse (P > 0.05). However, when rinse samples were diluted to lower Campylobacter numbers, enrichment improved detection (P < 0.05). Overall, all media combinations tested were equivalent for detection of Campylobacter from chicken livers; sensitivity for detection seemed to be increased by using liver exudate compared with a pooled rinse of liver lobes.

  • In chicken livers, Campylobacter can be detected with various combinations of media.

  • An aerobically incubated enrichment broth can be effective to recover Campylobacter.

  • Chicken liver exudate may contain ≥102Campylobacter per mL.

  • Campylobacter can be detected in chicken liver exudate without enrichment.

  • Chicken liver rinse should be enriched before plating for Campylobacter detection.

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