Poultry meat is the major source of human campylobacteriosis, the most frequently reported zoonosis in the EU. The prevalence of Campylobacter colonization in European broiler flocks is 71%. Despite considerable efforts, there is still no effective strategy available to prevent or reduce Campylobacter colonization in broilers.
This study tested a wide variety of feed additives to reduce Campylobacter shedding in primary poultry production. Twelve additives containing organic or fatty acids, monoglycerides, plant extracts, prebiotics, or probiotics were tested. For each additive, broilers contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni were fed with an additive free diet (control group) or with a supplemented diet (treated group) and Campylobacter loads compared at three sampling times.
No treatment was able to prevent broiler colonization by Campylobacter, and there was a high degree of variation in contamination among the birds. At 14 d of age, eight treatments significantly decreased the colonization level compared to the control group by a maximum of 2 log10 CFU/g. At 35 d of age, three of these treatments still had a significant effect with a maximum reduction of 1.88 log10 CFU/g for a probiotic. At 42 d of age, only one short-chain fatty acid was still significantly efficient with a mean reduction over 2 log10 CFU/g. In addition, a probiotic and a prebiotic-like compound significantly decreased the contamination by a maximum of 3 log10 CFU/g, only at the 42-d sampling period.
This study gives promising results regarding the use of feed additives to reduce Campylobacter infection in flocks. Nevertheless, a global approach, combining intervention measures at the different steps of the broiler meat production chain could have a greater impact on the reduction of public health risk.