Emerging Bacterial Pathogens in Meat and Poultry: An Overview

Review Paper


Many foodborne diseases are associated with consumption of meat and poultry. Some pathogens were not previously known (new pathogens), others have newly arisen as foodborne (emerging pathogens), and others have become more potent or associated with other products (evolving pathogens). Many of these pathogens may cause severe illness, besides gastroenteritis. Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of food-associated bacterial illness; Campylobacter jejuni O:19 and other serotypes are common etiological agents of Guillain–Barré syndrome, a neuropathy due to autoimmune response. Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 and other serotypes have been found to be multi-drug resistant; salmonellosis may lead to chronic reactive arthritis. Many outbreaks of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli have been associated with consumption of undercooked contaminated ground beef; complication may occur (e.g., hemolytic uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura). Listeria monocytogenes is ubiquitous; listeriosis is of major public health concern because of the severity and non-enteric nature of the disease (meningitis or meningoencephalitis, septicemia, and abortion) and its ability to multiply at refrigeration temperature. Arcobacter butzleri is a potential foodborne pathogen, and has been isolated from raw poultry, meat, and meat products; but its role in causing human illness is not fully understood. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis can be transmitted by ingestion of raw and processed meats; the organism may contribute to Crohn’s disease, a chronic intestinal enteritis. Beef, pork, lamb, and/or poultry have been reported as sources of infection for the abovementioned organisms but have not been generally associated with disease outbreaks of some of the pathogens.


New, emerging and evolving foodborne pathogens Pathogenic bacteria Meat Poultry Food safety Food policy 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CER Planta de Tecnologia dels Aliments (XaRTA, XIT), Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Facultat de VeterinàriaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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