12 January - 20 June 2016

Monitoring chicken flock behaviour could help combat leading cause of food poisoning

13 January 2016

Presence of the Campylobacter bacteria in chicken meat, which is the most common cause of food poisoning in humans, can be detected by monitoring the way in which a flock of chickens move, according to recent research carried out by zoologists at Oxford University. Computer software was used to monitor the flow of flocks; the change in areas of light and dark were tracked over time to give a movement pattern for each flock analysed. In addition, samples of faecal matter were taken from each of the flocks to confirm whether the bacteria were present in the flock. It was shown that flocks where Campylobacter was present showed a lower degree of average movement and less uniform movement than in flocks that did not have the bacteria. Interestingly, it was possible to pick up movement patterns indicating the presence of Campylobacter when the chickens were only 7-10 days old, whereas conventional testing methods cannot be applied to flocks this young. It is not clear whether the presence of the bacteria gives rise to the lack of flock movement, or whether the lack of movement is a marker for susceptibility, however it does indicate that the presence of Campylobacter in a flock can be detrimental to the chicken’s welfare, contrary to previous beliefs.

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry