Progress in fight against Campylobacter bacteria

by Editor
Thursday, July 05, 2007

For New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) Executive Director Dr Andrew McKenzie his country’s work in the fight against Campylobacter in poultry is being watched with interest around the world. In his view one certainly can’t say the problem has been solved, but he is pleased the way things are going.

New Zealand has been acknowledged for some time as having among the highest recorded cases of campylobacteriosis in the developed world, although the reasons for the high rates are unclear. The NZFSA Campylobacter risk management strategy – which we’re working through in partnership with the poultry industry – is addressing this area of certainty with the goal of reducing the numbers of Campylobacter found on chicken.

The complex nature of the problem is internationally-recognised. Late last year a Joint World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO/WHO) Codex Alimentarius Commission group was set up to look into the issue. New Zealand was asked to lead, in cooperation with Sweden, the development of a new international ‘Code of Hygienic Practice for Salmonella and Campylobacter in Young Chickens (Broilers) and Chicken Meat’. About 30 countries and international organisations have volunteered to be part of the working group which has just met for the first time in Uppsala, Sweden, to work out a plan of attack for development of the Code.

Dr McKenzie says that the despite the internationally-recognised complex nature of the problem, the NZFSA strategy is showing some areas of early promise, but reiterates that there is still some way to go.