EFSA Scientific Colloquium N°12: Assessing Health Benefits of controlling Campylobacter in the food chain, 4-5 December, Rome, Italy
Some 90 scientists and stakeholders from 30 countries, including the USA and New Zealand, attended a meeting organised by EFSA on ‘Assessing health benefits of controlling Campylobacter in the food chain’ in Rome. It was the twelfth in the series of EFSA’s Scientific Colloquia and was held on 4 and 5 December 2008.
The participants worked in 4 separate discussion groups: the source attribution and health impact of Campylobacter; its quantitative risk assessment in broiler meat; its resistance to fluoroquinolones (an antimicrobial substance) and effective control measures in broiler meat production from farm to fork.
During the final plenary session, the scientists discussed the conclusions and agreed that even though there are many reservoirs and transmission routes for the bacterium; poultry meat remains likely to be the most important cause of human exposure. Campylobacter was recognised as the main cause of acute bacterial enteritis in humans.
Scientists also added that close cooperation between the medical and the food and veterinary sectors will be essential to improve data collection. Reliable quantitative data throughout the food chain in Europe will help fine-tune models for risk assessment and identify most successful intervention measures.
The scientists noted that the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry has led to the emergence of resistance to this antibiotic in Campylobacter in poultry and in turn in humans. Reducing the use of fluoroquinolones in animals will benefit public health, although in the case of Campylobacter it is presently not possible to quantify the precise impact on human health, the scientists added.
Representatives from the European Commission, ECDC (the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), EMEA (the European Medicines Agency) and Member States also took part in the Colloquium. Scientific cooperation is an important aspect for EFSA’s work, contributing to the provision of sound and accurate risk assessment.