The purpose of the present study was to determine the prevalence of thermophilic Campylobacter in poultry, pork, and beef meat at the retail level and to identify the main categories of meat representing the most significant reservoirs of Campylobacter. A monitoring study was conducted throughout Poland from 2009 to 2013. A total of 1,700 fresh meat samples were collected from supermarkets, large retail outlets, and smaller stores. Thermophilic Campylobacter species were detected in 690 (49.3%) of 1,400 poultry samples collected from retail trade. Strains were isolated from 50.2 and 41.1% of raw chicken and turkey meat samples, respectively, and from 50.1 and 42.6% of raw chicken and turkey giblets. The incidence of Campylobacter spp. on pork (10.6%) and beef (10.1%) was significantly lower than on poultry. Campylobacter jejuni was the most prevalent Campylobacter species in chicken (46.6%), pork (68.6%), and beef (66.7%), and Campylobacter coli was the most frequently isolated Campylobacter species in turkey meat (71.2%). This study revealed that retail raw meats are often contaminated with Campylobacter; however, the prevalence of these pathogens is markedly different in different meats. Raw retail meats are potential vehicles for transmitting foodborne diseases, and our findings stress the need for increased implementation of hazard analysis critical control point programs and consumer food safety education efforts.

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