Germany has revealed results from several control programs looking at poultry meat, olives, raw milk cheese, and squid.

As part of 2022 zoonoses monitoring, Campylobacter and Salmonella were detected more often in fattening ducks than in broiler chickens. It was the first time ducks had been included in testing, according to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).

More Campylobacter was found in fresh duck meat than in fresh chicken meat. When tested for Salmonella, the contamination rate of duck meat was 5.1 percent, similar to that of chicken. Results showed that duck meat — like other types of poultry — should only be consumed thoroughly cooked and that strict kitchen hygiene must be observed during preparation.

Campylobacter and Salmonella in meat
43,166 Campylobacter infections were reported to the Robert Koch Institut (RKI) in 2022. This is below the 48,130 cases in 2021 and down from 61,526 in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contamination rate of fresh chicken meat was 46 percent, with 225 of 489 samples being positive. Campylobacter was detected using a quantitative method in 10 of 477 samples, with the highest bacteria count being 100 colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g).

The contamination rate of fresh duck meat was 60.6 percent, with 226 of 373 samples being positive. For retail fresh turkey meat, 44 of 413 samples were positive.

A total of 9,013 salmonellosis cases were reported to the RKI in 2022. This is more than 8,220 infections in the previous year but lower than 13,693 cases in 2019, before the pandemic.

Salmonella was detected in one of 209 farm-grown lettuce samples and one of 402 retail lettuce samples. Fresh duck and chicken meat in retail stores had a contamination rate of 5.1, with 19 of 375 duck meat samples and 25 of 489 chicken samples positive. Overall, 17 of 463 fresh turkey meat samples contained Salmonella.

Listeria in olives and other controls
In 2022, 569 cases of listeriosis were reported to the RKI compared to 586 in 2020.

Listeria monocytogenes were found in 97 of 369 retail fresh duck meat samples and 32 of 465 turkey meat samples. From tests at manufacturers, 32 of 141 samples of fresh poultry meat and two of 124 samples of sausage products made from poultry meat were positive.

Sixteen of 361 tests of loose black and blackened olives taken at retail came back positive, and six had levels above 100 CFU/g. Since olives are often eaten raw, vulnerable groups, such as elderly people, were advised by authorities to avoid eating them. One sample was contaminated at 12,000 CFU/g, which is 120 times higher than the limit of 100 CFU/g for ready-to-eat foods.

The Federal Surveillance Plan for 2022 focused on 14 areas, including aflatoxin in chia seeds, aluminum in fruit juice, squid in breaded and battered products, and PCBs and dioxins in eggs.

In another operation, 158 raw milk cheese samples were tested for coagulase-positive staphylococci. In seven samples, levels above 104 CFU/g were detected. A cheese made from cow’s milk had coagulase-positive staphylococci above the legal limit. However, testing for staphylococcal enterotoxin was negative. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) was detected in 11 samples with 10 cow’s milk cheeses.

Also in 2022, the online menus of 1,273 catering establishments were checked as part of nationwide monitoring. Violations of allergen labeling were recorded in 633 of the inspected outlets.

In 572 of these establishments, the menu was available both on their homepage and the homepage of a pick-up and delivery service. In 550 cases, a menu was only on the company website, and on 151 occasions, it was only on the delivery service’s homepage.

Allergens included wheat in pizza, pasta, and bread, egg in mayonnaise, and milk in sauce. Controls found wheat was often incorrectly declared or not declared in dishes containing this allergen.

The information on additives and allergens differed in 327 sites that had published a menu on their homepage and the site of the pick-up and delivery service. Allergen labeling was present more often on the homepage of the delivery service than on the caterer’s website in question and was also more often accurate.

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