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UCD Centre for Food Safety

Ionad Sábháilteachta Bia UCD

Physical Decontamination Technologies to Enhance Poultry Safety and Quality

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food borne bacterial infections worldwide. Based on epidemiological studies, prevalences in food animals and foods of animal origin and exposure assessments, it is estimated that food is the most important routes of transmission, particularly handling and consumption of poultry products. Human infections from Campylobacter result in intestinal inflammation leading to diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Despite much research and the implementation of food safety measures, poultry remain heavily contaminated with campylobacter. Approximately 80% of the UK’s and 50% of Irish retail poultry is contaminated with Campylobacter. In 2005 and 2006 there were 1801 and 1815 confirmed Campylobacteriosis cases in Ireland, respectively. However, it is thought that the true figure is 10 times greater than the confirmed number. It is estimated that significant reductions in the numbers of cases of Campylobacteriosis in humans worldwide would be achieved if levels of contamination could be reduced in raw poultry. As a result, interventions that could successfully control or reduce contamination while maintaining product quality would be most worthwhile in terms of improving public health protection.

The aim of this project is therefore to investigate the potential of novel technologies including UV light, ultrasonication, ultraviolet light, pulsed electric fields and crust freezing for campylobacter decontamination of poultry carcasses and packaging.

-Ms. Pippa Haughton

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