Estimating Campylobacter Burden of Illness from Undercooking Poultry Products in England and Wales

P.K. Malakar*, G.C. Barker
Institute of Food Research, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK.

© 2008 Malakar and Barker

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Food Research, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK; E-mail: pradeep.malakar@BBSRC.AC.UK


The estimated public health burden of Campylobacter infection and illness in England and Wales due to consuming undercooked poultry products is relatively small, ~0.3 percent. The estimated annual number of cases of Campylobacteriosis in England and Wales attributed to consumption of chicken is 175,000. Information, on consumer behavior during cooking, heat sensitivity of Campylobacter, population data on consumption of poultry products, Campylobacter dose response, were used to model, probabilistically, Campylobacter infection and illness. The information used in the model was sourced from publicly available databases and from literature. Sensitivity analysis of the model indicates that consumer knowledge of cooking chicken determines risk of Campylobacter infection and illness. Model calculations show that it is possible to eliminate this route of infection by consistent monitoring of cooking temperatures and ensuring that a core temperature of 70 degrees C is reached during a cooking process and held for more than 2 minutes. Since 57 percent of meals where chicken is the main ingredient are still prepared at home, targeted information on preparing and cooking chicken in the home will help to decrease the Campylobacter burden of illness from undercooking poultry products in England and Wales

Keywords: Campylobacter infection, modeling, undercooking, poultry products.