EFSA's Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) Panel has adopted an opinion on the extent to which broiler (chicken) meat contributes to human cases of campylobacteriosis. Experts conclude that the handling, preparation and consumption of broiler meat may directly account for 20 to 30% of human cases of campylobacteriosis in the European Union
In Europe, campylobacteriosis is the most common infectious disease transmissible from animals to humans through food and the opinion confirms previous findings that poultry meat appears to be a major, if not the largest, source of human infection. TheBIOHAZ Panel estimates that the number of actual cases of human campylobacteriosis is likely to be much higher than officially reported.
Campylobacteriosis is generally contracted through ingestion of bacteria originating from contaminated food or contaminated water. The disease which can lead to diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever affects children, young adults and the elderly.
EFSA's review of the different sources of human Campylobacter infections represents the first step in broader work in this area that is expected to be completed in 2010. At the request of the Commission, the BIOHAZ Panel will identify and rank the possible control options and propose specific targets to reduce Campylobacter occurrence at the different stages of the broiler meat chain. This overall work will support risk managers in establishing appropriate measures to reduce the number of cases of human campylobacteriosis in the EU.
Source: EFSA - European Food Safety Authority