Investigations of two chicken processing plants in The Netherlands have shown that large contamination with Campylobacter jejuni can exist on birds, equipment, hands of processing-line workers and in air samples from the processing facility. This contamination appeared only to be of intestinal origin. Intestinal contents of birds to be processed contained up to 107 C. jejuni per gram. Contamination of birds was reduced during scalding at 58°C, but this reduction was not always observed at 51.8°C. The number of C. jejuni on carcasses increased during defeathering and evisceration. Large numbers of C. jejuni were washed off the carcasses when a spinchiller was used. When air-cooling was employed, C. jejuni in some instances died off, probably due to drying. End-products from these chicken processing plants contained C. jejuni in 50% of carcasses and 75% of livers.

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Author notes

1Doctoral Student, University of Agriculture, Wageningen, The Netherlands.