Microbiological Quality of Cooked Chicken: Results of Monitoring in England (2013 to 2017)

James McLauchlin*, Heather Aird, Andre Charlett, Nicola Elviss, Frieda Jorgensen, Caroline Willis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Results from monitoring of the microbiological quality of 2,721 samples of ready-to-eat cooked chicken collected between 2013 to 2017 in England were reviewed: 70% of samples were from retail, catering, or manufacture and 30% were imported and collected at English ports. Samples were tested for a range of bacterial pathogens and indicator organisms. Six samples (,1%) had unsatisfactory levels of pathogens that were potentially injurious to health. Neither Salmonella nor Campylobacter were recovered from any samples. Two samples from catering settings contained either an unsatisfactory level of Bacillus cereus (5 3 106 CFU/g) or an unsatisfactory level of coagulase-positive staphylococci (1.6 3 104 CFU/g). Listeria monocytogenes was recovered from 36 samples (1 at manufacture, 26 at catering, and 9 at retail) and in 4 samples, unsatisfactory levels (>102 CFU/ g) were detected (3 samples collected at catering and 1 sample at retail). For L. monocytogenes, there were no significant differences between the rates of contamination for the samples collected from ports, manufacture, retail supermarkets, and other retailers (P ¼ 0.288). There were no differences between the rates of contamination for other potential pathogens detected between samples from different settings. The prevalence of hygiene indicators (Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, and aerobic colony counts) at import was significantly lower than in samples collected from manufacturers, retail, or catering (P, 0.01). Samples collected from catering gave poorer results than those from all other settings. Regardless of the stage in the food chain, samples from Thailand and from other non–European Union countries were of significantly better microbiological quality with respect to indicator organisms than those from the United Kingdom or from other European Union countries (P ¼,0.001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1989-1997
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright Ó, Her Majesty the Queen, with permission of Public Health England and the Keeper of Public Records


  • Cooked chicken
  • Food chain
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Microbiological quality
  • Monitoring
  • Surveillance


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