From chicken to salad: Cooking salt, an unexplored cross-contamination route for Campylobacter

Friday, July 30, 2021 - 14:15

Entre em no dia 30 de julho de 2021 às 14h15 e assista à Biotalk (em inglês) de Paula Teixeira. A "entrada" é livre e gratuita, sem necessidade de inscrição.

Campylobacter spp. are the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in industrialized countries - nine million estimated cases each year in Europe. Contaminated chicken is the food vehicle associated with the majority of reported cases of campylobacteriosis, either by the consumption of undercooked meat or via cross- contamination of ready-to-eat foods (RTE) during the handling of contaminated raw chicken. Here we show that cooking salt (used for seasoning) is a potential vehicle for Campylobacter spp. cross-contamination from raw chicken to lettuce, through unwashed hands after handling raw chicken. We also demonstrated that, once introduced into cooking salt, Campylobacter spp. are able to survive in a culturable state up to 4 hours. After six hours, although not detected following an enrichment period in culture medium, intact cells were observed by transmission electron microscopy. These findings reveal a “novel” indirect cross-contamination route of Campylobacter in domestic settings, and a putative contamination source to RTE foods that are seasoned with salt, that might occur if basic food hygiene practices are not adopted by consumers when preparing and cooking poultry dishes. This work was performed in the scope of the H2020 project SafeConsume (