In the year 1999, after a wave of Campylobacter infection in Iceland the control of domestic broilers was intensified. Today, samples are taken from every herd of broilers that are to be slaughtered 2-5 days before the planned slaughter. If the bacteria is detected all the broilers from that specific herd are frozen right after slaughter.
The reason why this control procedure was chosen is based on studies that showed that by freezing the broilers the bacteria declined in numbers up to 99%. Since this method was implemented the risk and the infections posed by handling of raw chicken and the possibilities of cross infection have decreased considerably.
Since frozen broiler products are sold at much lower prices than fresh, poultry farmers worked harder on introduction of improved biocontrol actions that soon lead to drastic decrease in Campylobacter contamination of broiler herds. These actions as well as educating the public on how to handle raw poultry products correctly have resulted in total turnover in the annual number of domestic cases of Campylobacter and the number of domestic cases are now only a fraction of what was diagnosed in 1999. At the same time the number of broiler herds analyzed with the bacteria is also only a small fraction of what it was before freezing action was implemented in 2000.
Through these efforts, Iceland is in a unique position when it comes to infrequent Campylobacter infection. No other country has managed to reduce the number of infections in the same manner and in such a short time. This success has attracted much attention and other countries, including Norway, are working on the installation of a similar system of interventional measures.
For more information, please contact Franklín Georgsson at Matís.