Enhancing Campylobacter testing for Poultry Processing

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the U.S. alone. Combine that statistic with the rapid production growth seen in the poultry processing industry, and it is clear there is a tremendous opportunity to help limit the risk of microbial infections related to Campylobacter.

Times are changing

Increased visibility and discussion surrounding public health has caused a shift in expectations in relation to the meat and poultry industries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration have made major strides in the past decade to combat this issue. In 2011, The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed with seven major rules of implementation. These actionable rules show that from farm to table, food safety is a responsibility at multiple steps in the process.1

Even with new regulations in place, it isn’t simple. Carolina Riba, Global Category Manager at 3M Food Safety explains:

“Testing for Campylobacter in poultry can be tricky as its matrices are complex and its processing contains lots of steps where contamination can occur. Campylobacter is a pathogen that can be found not only in raw meat, but at the primary production-level, and in broiler, carcass and bird part rinses.”

Recent research, design, and testing is showing that now is the right time for poultry processing facilities to upgrade food safety testing technology and enhance testing procedures.

Speed and accuracy are top priorities for poultry food processors

The traditional method for Campylobacter testing requires almost a dozen individual steps. With each step comes the introduction of error which means important decisions could be based on incorrect results – a risk no food processor wants to take. Working closely with poultry processors, 3M Food Safety experts observed the challenges when testing for microorganisms on high-volume processing lines and saw opportunities to leverage advanced science to support two industry objectives:

  1. Increase testing accuracy
    Traditional methods using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology has its limitations. Introduced in the early 1990’s, is susceptible to inhibition from sample matrices which can lead to false negative results. Modern technologies, including Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) do not require an internal amplification control. The unique enzyme, Bst polymerase, allows for continuous, rapid isothermal amplification.
  2. Increase production line speed
    Enrichment broth mixing is a necessary step for Campylobacter testing, and an area where efficiency can be enhanced. New microbiology research had lead way to a ready-to-use enrichment that only requires mixing with sterile water. This 3M™ Campylobacter Enrichment Broth does not require a microaerophilic environment, incubation, supplements, blood, organic solvents or autoclaving – reducing the overall number of steps to give results in 15 minutes.

The testing method that’s changing the game

FSMA maintains the importance prevention rather than treatment, and it starts at the beginning. 3M Food Safety has proudly released a new molecular method 3M™ Molecular Detection Assay 2 – Campylobacter [with other products for Salmonella, Listeria, Listeria monocytogenes, Cronobacter, and E. coli O157 (including H7)] the award-winning 3M™ Molecular Detection System is used by food processors, universities, governments and contract testing laboratories in more than 40 countries. Poultry producers are now equipped with a total food safety solution, including simultaneous monitoring for both Salmonella and Campylobacter that is fast, accurate, affordable, and easy to use.

“We are providing the poultry industry with a complete solution that is simplified to achieve fast, highly accurate results,” said Christopher Somero, 3M Food Safety marketing manager for new products.

Advancing poultry pathogen management even further

The USDA FSIS aims to achieve a reduction of illnesses from chicken parts and ground poultry of 30 percent for Salmonella and 19 to 37 percent for Campylobacter. 3M Food Safety is dedicated to the need for simplicity, speed, efficiency and accuracy in food testing labs. A whitepaper published in 2018 detailed relevant industry data for Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry, and what YOU can do to test smarter and stay safe.

Want more information on enhancing your poultry testing process? Download the 3M Poultry Pathogen Whitepaper here.