viernes, 21 de junio de 2013

Dutch process hygiene criterion will change critical limits for Campylobacter in poultry

The proposed critical limit is 1,000 CFU Campylobacter per gram of breast-and neck-skin, with none of 5 samples exceeding the limit.
Campylobacter, the most frequently reported bacterial zoonosis in the Netherlands, causes a substantial burden of disease. Due to this the Dutch government considers establishing a process hygiene criterion (PHC) for Campylobacter on broiler meat. In this report, the impact of implementing a PHC is evaluated, both with regard to the anticipated effect on public health and to the impact on the producers. The analysis is based on data of 16 Dutch slaughterhouses that measured Campylobacter on the skin of broiler carcasses after chilling and on filets on a weekly basis during 2009-2010.

Based on these data, the risk for consumers of campylobacteriosis preparation and consumption of broiler chicken meat was calculated per plant and per year, using a published risk assessment model. There were considerable differences between slaughterhouses in the level of contamination of the carcasses and the associated risk.
A mathematical model was developed to simulate the impact of successfully implementing a PHC. There are several limitations in the available data that necessitated making assumptions. As a baseline scenario, they propose a critical limit of 1,000 CFU Campylobacter per gram of breast-and neck-skin, with none of 5 samples per batch exceeding the critical limit.

Assuming that all batches that do not comply are treated so that they pose no risk (e.g. by heating), the model predicts 67% (2009) and 72% (2010) reduction in consumer risk. In these years, 32% and 37% of all produced batches would not meet this PHC. The proportion of batches not meeting the criterion varied between 14% and 57% of all batches produced by individual plants. In practice, the impact of a process hygiene criterion will be that plants with (high levels of) non-conforming batches (that contribute most to consumer risks) will improve processing hygiene, leading to a reduction of the proportion of highly contaminated batches and consumer risks. Choosing other critical limits in the PHC (a risk management decision) has important consequences. A more stringent critical limit of 100 CFU/g would reduce consumer risks by 98%, but 55% of all batches would not comply. A more tolerant critical limit of 10,000 CFU/g would reduce consumer risks by 21%, with 6% of batches not complying.

Economic analysis suggests that implementing is highly cost-effective from a societal point of view. The costs to the Dutch poultry industry are estimated in the order of 2 million € per year whereas the benefits to the Dutch economy are reduced costs-of-illness in the order of 9 million € per year and public health benefits in the order of 400 healthy life years. The benefits are even bigger if the consumers of exported meat are considered, or if the PHC would also apply to imported broiler meat.

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