What is Campylobacter? Why is food safety important to prevent it?

Uploaded by EFSAchannel on 17.07.2012

My name is Marta, I am a scientist working in EFSA
in the area of biological hazard
– that is food pathogens that can cause disease in humans.
Today, I'm here to explain what Campylobacter is
and why food safety is important to prevent it.
Campylobacter is a bacteria that lives in the gastrointestinal tract of animals
– particularly birds, such as chicken and other poultry like turkey,
and can cause a disease called Campylobacteriosis.
Campylobacteriosis is the most reported food-borne disease in the European Union,
which accounts every year for around 200,000 cases of infected citizens per year.
This is the number of reported cases but the true number of cases
is estimated to be about 9 million cases of European citizens
becoming infected every year.
Campylobacter can cause disease such fever,
diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, but it can also cause lifelong sequelae.
How is food contaminated by Campylobacter?
Campylobacter comes from healthy birds, primarily chickens and other poultry,
and can contaminate the food.
So it can spread to humans through the ingestion of contaminated meat
which is not thoroughly cooked, or through cross contamination.
To combat Campylobacter in the European Union, it is important
to reduce the number of animals infected but
also the number of bacteria living in the animals.
To protect consumers from the public health threat
that is Campylobacter, EFSA has identified the most important risk factors
that go from the farm, bio-security at the farm,
to the processing and to the consumer level through good hygiene.
Now the European Union is studying which would be
the most cost-effective actions to be implemented apart from
the already existing one to combat zoonosis.
What can you do to help also avoiding getting Campylobacteriosis?
You can ensure that you cook thoroughly the meat
before ingesting; that you implement good hygienic practices in your kitchen
by thoroughly washing hands and by also avoiding cross contamination.
So that means washing the utensils you have used to prepare the meat,
such as knives and cutting boards when you then follow
with the preparation of salads and vegetables.