Campylobacter in Chicken Meat
The global trade in chicken meat is extensive. In 2016 world-wide imports totalled 8.9 million tons and world-wide exports totalled 10.8 million tons. Brazil is the largest exporter of chicken meat in the world at 4.1 million ton per annum in 2016 (USDA 2016). Production of chicken meat starts at the hatchery where chicks are reared. These are stocked into chicken farms where they are grown to the required weight. Chicken production farms range from organic operations which are committed to “free range rearing to intensive, enclosed chicken houses where birds are ready for slaughter at around 5–7 weeks of age. The ensuing processing stages of slaughter, dressing and chilling are highly mechanized with line processing speeds approaching 175 birds per min. This is followed by distribution and retail sale under chill or frozen conditions. There are many opportunities during primary production and processing for chickens and chicken meat to become infected with pathogenic bacteria. Salmonella and Campylobacter are the principle pathogens of concern, with the latter being the focus of this chapter.
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