Studies show that the pathogen Arcobacter is present in beef, poultry, and pork. Several methods have been reported for the isolation of this organism, but none has been adopted as the standard. This has limited the significance of field comparison studies. In the present study, we compared the efficiencies of four Arcobacter isolation methods using raw ground pork collected from slaughter facilities across the United States. We also evaluated the effect of meat fat level and age of animals on the prevalence of Arcobacter in ground pork. The methods chosen for comparison of isolation efficiency were those of Collins, a modified version of the Collins method (Direct Collins), deBoer, and Johnson Murano (JM). These were chosen based on published reports in which they were used to detect Arcobacter in pork products. The JM method was found to be the most successful in consistently detecting Arcobacter, isolating it in 64 of 200 pork samples compared with the Direct Collins method, which isolated Arcobacter in 52 of 200 of those same samples. The Collins method and the deBoer method found Arcobacter present in only a fraction of the samples. The level of contamination was found to vary among the plants, ranging from 0% to 68% prevalence, with 32% overall for all four plants tested. Additionally, ground pork low in fat had a higher contamination frequency (20%) when compared with high-fat pork (4%). Results also showed that meat from younger animals was more frequently contaminated than that from older animals.

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