Scientific Opinion on Quantification of the risk posed by broiler meat to human campylobacteriosis in the EU

Broiler meat, chicken, campylobacteriosis, Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter jejuni, source attribution
First published in the EFSA Journal
28 January 2010
9 December 2009
Scientific Opinion


This scientific opinion further elaborates a previous EFSA opinion and assesses the extent to which meat derived from broilers contributes to human campylobacteriosis at EU level. It gives an overview of the public health significance and burden of campylobacteriosis, concluding that there is considerable underascertainment and underreporting of clinical campylobacteriosis in the EU. The known and hypothesised factors having an impact of the epidemiology of human campylobacteriosis are summarised. Handling, preparation and consumption of broiler meat may account for 20% to 30% of human cases of campylobacteriosis, while 50% to 80% may be attributed to the chicken reservoir as a whole. Many factors may explain this difference in attribution. There are differences in the point of attribution (reservoir vs. point of consumption). Strains from the chicken reservoir may reach humans by pathways other than food (e.g. by the environment or by direct contact). Results may be biased by inaccurate exposure assessments, confounding by immunity and incomplete data on reservoirs. Data for source attribution in the EU are limited and unavailable for the majority of Member States and there are indications that the epidemiology of human campylobacteriosis differs between regions. Hence, the conclusions of this scientific opinion must be interpreted with care. Recommendations are made on EU surveillance and research activities aimed at improving quantification of the burden of campylobacteriosis, facilitating the evaluation of the human health effects of any interventions and giving a better basis for source attribution.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Olivier Andreoletti, Herbert Budka, Sava Buncic, John D Collins, John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Hendrik Havelaar, James Hope, Günter Klein, James McLauchlin, Winy Messens, Christine Müller-Graf, Christophe Nguyen-The, Birgit Noerrung, Luisa Peixe, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, John Sofos, John Threlfall, Ivar Vågsholm, Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch
Panel on Biological Hazards
biohaz [at]
EFSA Journal 2010; 8(1):1437
Question Number
On request from
European Commission