Researchers have found that ‘chicken juice’ helps campylobacter develop a film that enables the bacteria to persist in environments such as kitchens and food processing sites.

A study by the Institute of Food Research concluded that the organic matter or ‘juice’ from chicken carcasses provides the bacteria with an ideal living environment. Researchers collected the liquid from defrosting chickens and discovered it helped campylobacter attach to surfaces and form biofilms – tiny structures that protect bacteria from environmental threats.

“This increase in biofilm formation was due to chicken juice coating the surfaces we used with a protein-rich film,” said Helen Brown, the PHD student who led the study. “This film then makes it much easier for the campylobacter bacteria to attach to the surface – and it provides them with an additional food source.”

The Institute of Food Research undertook the study to help better understand how campylobacter manages to survive outside the intestinal tract of infected chickens.

Although campylobacter is easily destroyed through cooking, it can cause serious food poisoning if consumed and affects roughly 500,000 people in the UK each year.