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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: PATHOGEN REDUCTION AND OPTIMIZATION OF WATER USAGE IN POULTRY PROCESSING OPERATIONS

Location:

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Develop and analyze poultry processing methods that utilize electrolyzed water and antimicrobial fatty acids as microbiocides to decrease microbial contamination during poultry processing. 2) Develop innovative processing operations and recommend modifications in existing processing operations to decrease water use in commercial poultry processing. 3) Evaluate the movement of microorganisms from broiler carcasses to processing water and equipment, specifically scalders, eviscerators and chillers.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Alternative antimicrobial treatments such as electrolyzed water, salts of fatty acids, peroxyacetic acid, blends of organic acids, chlorine dioxide, monochloramines, cetylpyridinium chloride and ozone will be evaluated for activity against poultry pathogens and spoilage bacteria. Optimum conditions for applying antimicrobials, including concentration and methods (spray or immersion), will be identified. Treatments with the greatest efficacy against poultry pathogens will be tested further during immersion chilling with reduced water volumes or air chilling. Carcass cross-contamination and procedures of preventing cross-contamination will be determined by focusing experiments on three of the processing areas where the transfer of bacteria is greatest (scalding, defeathering and equipment surfaces). Experiments will also evaluate product contact surfaces as a source of cross-contamination. Partitioning experiments will be performed to separate pathogens on the exterior of the bird from those interior. Cross-contamination will be minimized by using antimicrobial treatments tested in subsequent experiments. Research will be transferred to processing and regulatory personnel for implementation into Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP) plans.


3.Progress Report
Alternative antimicrobial treatments such as electrolyzed water, salts of fatty acids, peroxyacetic acid, blends of organic acids, chlorine dioxide, monochloramines, cetylpyridinium chloride and ozone will be evaluated for activity against poultry pathogens and spoilage bacteria. Optimum conditions for applying antimicrobials, including concentration and methods (spray or immersion), will be identified. Treatments with the greatest efficacy against poultry pathogens will be tested further during immersion chilling with reduced water volumes or air chilling. Carcass cross-contamination and procedures of preventing cross-contamination will be determined by focusing experiments on three of the processing areas where the transfer of bacteria is greatest (scalding, defeathering and equipment surfaces). Experiments will also evaluate product contact surfaces as a source of cross-contamination. Partitioning experiments will be performed to separate pathogens on the exterior of the bird from those interior. Cross-contamination will be minimized by using antimicrobial treatments tested in subsequent experiments. Research will be transferred to processing and regulatory personnel for implementation into Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP) plans.


4.Accomplishments
Microbiology of Dry Air and Traditional Immersion Chilled Chicken. Research was conducted to study dry air and traditional immersion chilling of broiler carcasses. Numbers of bacteria found on dry air and immersion chilled chickens were the same. Both chilling methods (dry and immersion) reduced numbers of Escherichia coli, coliforms and Campylobacter recovered from carcasses by 90%. Chilling method did not affect prevalence (number positive) of carcass Campylobacter or Salmonella. Data showed that dry air and immersion chilling produce similar reductions in carcass bacteria. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies).

Sampling of Broilers Chickens for External and Internal Sources of Bacteria. Sampling of chickens arriving for processing indicated that external and internal incidence of Campylobacter was equivalent, but greater numbers of Campylobacter were found in the intestinal tract than in external samples. In the case of Salmonella, however, incidence was greater in external samples than in the intestinal tract, although numbers of Salmonella were approximately equal be.tween external and internal samples. (NP 108, Component 1.1 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants – Preharvest, Problem Statement 1.1.2: Epidemiology, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies).

Microbiology of Poultry Treated With Antimicrobial Salts of Fatty Acids. Determined that washing whole broiler carcasses in mixtures of potassium hydroxide and lauric acid reduced the number of Campylobacter sp., Escherichia coli, and other bacteria in the native bacterial flora of processed broiler carcasses. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest , Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies, Problem Statement 1.2.9 Food Security).

Release of E. coli Bacteria from Broiler Carcasses during Scalding. Sampling water during washing of broiler carcasses indicated that bacteria leave the carcass rapidly at the beginning of scalding and fewer bacteria are removed from carcasses during the final stage of scalding. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.1: Detection and Validation, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology).

Sampling Scalder Water for Pathogens. Sampling water from an industrial multiple-tank scalder indicated that numbers of pathogens and indicator bacteria are sharply reduced in the last tank of a three-tank scalder compared to the first tank. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.1: Detection and Validation, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies).

Scraping of Chicken Skin as a Sampling Method. Abrasive scraping of chicken carcass skin was tested to determine whether more bacteria could be recovered after sampling a whole carcass rinse procedure, but scraping generally did not increase the recovery of bacteria. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.1: Detection and Validation, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies).

Efficacy of Alternative Antimicrobials Treatments. Determined that optimal concentrations and application method of selected organic acids to reduce pathogen levels on broiler carcasses. Evaluated the efficacy of a blend of acids (citric, hydrochloric and phosphoric, pH 2.4) sprayed onto prechill broiler carcasses during commercial processing. Incidence of Salmonella on acid-treated carcasses was only slightly lower than water-washed controls (47% vs. 56% positive), while numbers of coliforms and E. coli were 0.6 log10 cfu/mL lower than control carcasses. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest , Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies, Problem Statement 1.2.9 Food Security).

Forced Evacuation of Broiler Carcasses. Studies were conducted to determine the effects of forced cloacal voiding before scalding on numbers of bacteria recovered from broiler carcasses and scalder water. Forcing carcasses to void intestinal contents followed immediately by washing did not increase the numbers of bacteria recovered from skin, but it did reduce the amount of feces deposited in the scalder. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies).

Effect of Washing and Sanitizing Commercial Transportation Cages. We surveyed the U.S. poultry industry and found that 28% of broiler and 92% of turkey companies use a cage/truck washing system to reduce cross-contamination. Another study found that levels of aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli and coliforms on cage flooring could be reduced by 99% using a commercial cage washing system. However, this system did not completely eliminate bacteria on flooring surfaces. (NP 108, Component 1.1 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants – Preharvest, Problem Statement 1.1.2: Epidemiology, Problem Statement 1.1.4: Intervention Strategies, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest , Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.9 Food Security).

Microbiology of Visibly Contaminated Prechill Broiler Carcasses. Studies were conducted to determine the effectiveness of inside-outside bird washers (IOBW) for removing carcass fecal contamination. The first study demonstrated that numbers of total bacteria, E. coli, Campylobacter or Salmonella were not affected by contamination with feces, by cross-contamination during washing or by altering IOBW pressure. A second study showed that fecal contamination on the skin resulted in higher numbers of carcass bacteria than fecal contamination in the body cavity after the IOBW. (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest , Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies, Problem Statement 1.2.9 Food Security).

Incidence and Effect of Unabsorbed Broiler Yolk Sacs. Unabsorbed yolk sacs on broiler gastrointestinal tracts were observed to be a potential source of carcass contamination during processing. A series of experiments showed that chick water provision prior to placement had no affect on incidence of unabsorbed yolk sacs. Incidence of unabsorbed yolk sacs were observed to be 47%, 51%, 27%, 11% and 24% in 6 week old broilers, 8 week old broilers, roosters, hens, and Athens-Canadian Random-bred controls. (NP 108, Component 1.1 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants – Preharvest, Problem Statement 1.1.2: Epidemiology, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest , Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology).

Inhibition of growth of undesirable bacteria by probiotic bacteria. Determined that species of Bacillus and Lactobacillus isolated from equine fecal material could inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Clostridia perfringens in vitro (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology, Problem Statement 1.2.4 Processing Intervention Strategies, Problem Statement 1.2.6: Safety and Health).

Comparison of the growth of strains of Streptococcus suis. Determined that the generation time of isolates of S. suis OS24B and S. suis OS24W was shorter than the generation time of S. suis OS24A (NP 108, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants -- Postharvest, Problem Statement 1.2.1: Detection and Validation, Problem Statement 1.2.3 Production and Processing Ecology).


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings12
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences2

Review Publications
Berrang, M.E., Smith, D.P., Hinton Jr, A. 2006. Organic acids placed into the cloaca to reduce campylobacter contamination of broiler skin during defeathering. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 15(2):287-291.

Berrang, M.E., Smith, D.P., Hinton Jr, A. 2006. Application of distilled white vinegar to counter the increase in campylobacter numbers on broiler skin during feather removal. Journal of Food Protection. 69(2):425-427.

Buhr, R.J., Richardson, L.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Cox Jr, N.A. 2006. Comparison of four sampling methods for the detection of salmonella in broiler litter. Poultry Science. 86:(1)21-25.

Cason Jr, J.A., Buhr, R.J., Hinton Jr, A. 2006. Release of escherichia coli from feathered and featherless broiler carcasses in warm water. Poultry Science. 85:1807-1810.

Cason Jr, J.A., Hinton Jr, A. 2006. Coliforms, e. coli, camplobacter, and salmonellai, in a counterflow broiler scalder with a dip tank. International Journal of Poultry Science. 5:846-849.

Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Buhr, R.J., Northcutt, J.K., Fairchild, B.D., Mauldin, J.M. 2006. Presence of inoculated campylobacter and salmonella in unabsorbed yolks of male breeders raised as broilers. Avian Diseases. 50:(3)430-433.

Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Buhr, R.J., Northcutt, J.K., Cray, P.J., Bailey, J.S., Fairchild, B.D., Mauldin, J.M. 2006. Natural occurrence of campylobacter spp., salmonella serovars and other bacteria in unabsorbed yolks of market age commercial broilers. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 15(4):551-557.

Hinton Jr, A., Northcutt, J.K., Smith, D.P., Musgrove, M.T., Ingram, K.D. 2006. Spoilage microflora of broiler carcasses washed with electrolyzed oxidizing water or chlorinated water using an inside-outside bird washer. Poultry Science. 86:123-127.

Murry, A.C., Hinton Jr, A., Buhr, R.J. 2006. Effect of botanical probiotic containing lactobacilli on growth performance and populations of bacteria in the ceca, cloaca, and carcass rinse of broiler chickens. International Journal of Poultry Science. 5:344-350.

Musgrove, M.T., Jones, D.R., Northcutt, J.K., Cox Jr, N.A., Harrison, M.A., Cray, P.J., Ladely, S.R. 2006. Antimicrobial resistance in salmonella and escherichia coli isolated from commercial shell eggs. Poultry Science. 85:1665-1669.

Northcutt, J.K., Berrang, M.E. 2006. Influence of chicken transportation cage washing system on wastewater characteristics and bacteria recovery from cage flooring. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 15(3):457-463.

Smith, D.P., Northcutt, J.K., Musgrove, M.T. 2005. Microbiology of cantaminated or visibly clean broiler carcasses processed with an inside-outside bird washer. International Journal of Poultry Science. 4:955-958.

Smith, D.P., Northcutt, J.K., Cason Jr, J.A., Hinton Jr, A., Buhr, R.J., Ingram, K.D. 2007. Effect of External or Internal Fecal Contamination on Numbers of Bacteria on Pre-Chill Broiler Carcasses. Poultry Science. 86:1241-1244.

Smith, D.P., Cason Jr, J.A., Fletcher, D.L., Hannah, J.F. 2007. Evaluation of carcass scraping to enumerate bacteria on pre-chill broiler carcasses. Poultry Science. 86:1436-1439.

Northcutt, J.K., Buhr, R.J., Maudlin, J.M., Fairchild, B.D., Richardson, L.J., Cox Jr, N.A. 2006. Influence of water provision to chicks prior to placement on performance on incidence of unabsorbed yolk sacs. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 15:538-543.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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