The chickens

Consumer NZ studied 40 chickens, and found out that 65 percent (26 chickens) tested positive for Campylobacter. This test is highly sensitised to pick up the smallest trace of Campylobacter, varying from the requirements of Ministry for Primary Industries.

Director of Poultry Industry Association, Mr Michael Brooks, mentioned that chicken only accounts for 40 per cent of NZ’s Campylobacter cases. However, the team went on to further study the effects of consuming the infected chicken. They concluded that consuming those chicken only increases the chance, not necessarily getting ill. One can get infected if the meat was undercooked or if the raw meat came in contact with other food, resulting in the survival and the spread of Campylobacter.

Apart from testing chicken at meatworks, Ministry of Primary Industries suggested for retail testing to test for the bacteria in chicken carcase. In UK, retail testing was carried out. It brings on public awareness to reduce contamination when handling chicken. As a result of this initiative, UK had 32 fewer Campylobacter-related illness as compared to NZ, which had 135 cases last year. Furthermore, NZ Ministry of Health stated that Campylobacterosis is the most common foodborne illness in NZ. Thus, retail testing could possibly reduce the numbers of cases gradually.

In rhe UK, more than 2 million chickens are consumed in the UK and about half of the chickens sold carry Campylobacter jejuni. Campylobacteriosis reaches up to 280 000 cases per year in UK while globally, scientists calculated that were were 100 million illnesses by Campylobacter and more than 20 000 deaths. Dr Grant, the scientist at Department of Veterinary Medicine sayd that the bacteria might just change; from attacking just the gut to infecting the liver and some deep muscles in chickens – making it difficult for elimination. One of the main points of transmission is during processing where the chicken guts can spill and contaminate other carcasses. The scientist raises the issue of everyone – including the farmer, the processor, the supermarket, food inspectors and consumers – play a role in keeping the bacteria under control.

At the same time, we need continued research to understand how Campylobacter colonises chickens so that we can devise novel interventions and vaccines, as well as develop an understanding of how it causes disease in humans so that therapeutics can be developed. (Cooke, 2017)


Limited, F.N.Z. (2016) More than half of chicken could have campylobacter – consumer NZ. Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Cooke, K. ] (2017) Cambridge University scientists lead battle against chicken bacteria. Available at: (Accessed: 5 February 2017).




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