The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are holding a meeting on Campylobacter in poultry next month.

Several experts from the United States are attending, including Bing Wang from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Marcos Sanchez-Plata of Texas Tech University; Catherine Logue at the University of Georgia. Also attending are Nicol Janecko, from the Quadram Institute, and Alessandra De Cesare from the University of Bologna.

Poultry meat has been identified as one of the most important food vehicles for Campylobacter contamination.

In a 2015 report on the global burden of foodborne disease, WHO estimated that in 2010 Campylobacter caused more than 95 million illnesses and 21,374 deaths.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) has previously conducted risk assessments in broiler chickens and evaluated intervention measures being used in the production of chicken meat.

In 2022, the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene asked JEMRA to look at scientific information on Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken meat ahead of a potential update to guidelines for the control of these pathogens in this product.

FAO and WHO will hold an expert meeting on the pre-and post-harvest control of Campylobacter in poultry meat from Feb. 6 to 10, 2023, in Rome.

A separate meeting covering Salmonella was held in September 2022. This found multiple interventions are needed to control Salmonella in chickens raised for human consumption.

Ways to reduce the problem
The purpose of next month’s event is to collect, review and discuss relevant measures to control Campylobacter from primary production to consumption of poultry meat.

The scope includes primary production, processing, distribution, handling, preparation, retail, and consumption. Emphasis will be placed on the identification and evaluation of solutions to reduce campylobacteriosis associated with eating poultry meat, taking into consideration their effectiveness and practicalities.

Objectives include reviewing publicly available literature and guidelines from authorities and industry associations such as compliance guides and codes of practice to assess the current state of knowledge in controlling Campylobacter in poultry meat. Experts will review mitigation and intervention measures being used at different points along the food chain and assess their effectiveness in reducing Campylobacter.

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