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Vet Rec. 2020 Jan 24. pii: vetrec-2019-105558. doi: 10.1136/vr.105558. [Epub ahead of print]

Campylobacter prevalence and risk factors associated with exceeding allowable limits in poultry slaughterhouses in Spain.

Author information

Centro de Calidad Avícola y Alimentación Animal de la Comunidad Valenciana (CECAV), Calle Nules 16, 12539, Castellón, Spain
Departamento de Producción y Sanidad Animal, Salud Pública Veterinaria y Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, CEU Universities, Avenida Seminario s/n, 46113, Moncada, Spain.
Instituto de Ciencia de Tecnología Animal, Universidad Politècnica de Valencia, Camí de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain.
Centro de Calidad Avícola y Alimentación Animal de la Comunidad Valenciana (CECAV), Calle Nules 16, 12539, Castellón, Spain.



Campylobacter is the main pathogen involved in zoonotic gastrointestinal diseases. In 2018, European Regulation 2017/1495 on Campylobacter in broiler carcases came into force. In this context, the aim of the study was to assess the potential risk factors associated with exceeding the 1000 cfu/g (colony-forming units per gram) limit set by the EC in several slaughterhouses in Spain.


Data relating to 12 factors were collected using questionnaires. Samples were collected from 12 Spanish abattoirs in June, July and August 2017 (n=1725) and were analysed following the ISO 10272-2:2006 method.


The proportion of Campylobacter-positive samples was 23.7 per cent (n=409). Analysis of flock age (41-50 days) revealed a significantly increased odds ratio (OR) in Campylobacter enumeration (OR=7.41). Moreover, scalding temperature (51.9°C-54°C) was positively associated with an increase in OR (OR=2.75). Time in transit to slaughter for 1-1.5 hours showed a significant decrease in OR (OR=0.25), while time in transit for more than two hours showed an increase in OR (OR=4.44). With regard to carcase weight, a weight of 3.21-3.58 kg showed a decrease in OR (OR=0.01).


The outcomes of this study suggest that although most chickens are contaminated by the bacterium, the prevalence of those exceeding the 1000 cfu/g limit is not so high as thought.


Campylobacter; poultry; quantitative; risk factor; slaughterhouse


Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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