Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 14, 2003
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Citation: Musgrove, M.T., Cox Jr, N.A., Berrang, M.E., Harrison, M.A. 2003. Comparison of weep and carcass rinses for recovery of campylobacter from retail broiler carcasses. Journal of Food Protection. 66(9):1720-1723. Interpretive Summary: Methods that are sensitive and efficient at determining if poultry meat is contaminated with Campylobacter are needed. It was previously reported that bacteria could be detected in the 'weep' (blood and water) associated with packaged poultry meat. Weep samples are much easier to collect and analyze than are rinse samples where meat is immersed in large volumes of diluent. Experiments were conducted comparing weep and rinse sampling for their ability to recover Campylobacter from naturally contaminated broiler carcasses. These experiments indicated that weep sampling was comparable to rinse sampling in terms of the numbers of Campylobacter recovered and in terms of the numbers of carcasses determined to be contaminated. This information can be used by researchers and quality assurance personnel in developing cost effective, efficient sampling plans and will aid them in their efforts to assess the microbiological safety and quality of poultry meat.
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter is frequently recovered from broiler carcasses. Carcass rinse is a commonly used procedure for obtaining Campylobacter isolates from poultry. A viscous fluid or weep exudes from the broiler carcasses that have been packaged. This fluid can contain bacteria that were attached to the carcass and if analyzed culturally, is a potential means of detecting Campylobacter-contaminated carcasses. Experiments were conducted to compare the efficacy of a weep sampling method to a carcass rinse method. In both trials, retail carcasses were purchased. Packages were opened and 0.1 ml aliquots of weep fluid from the retail package were plated onto Campy-cefex agar. Carcasses were removed from the package and rinsed in 100 ml of sterile water. Following this procedure, 0.1 ml aliquots of the rinsate were plated onto Campy-Cefex agar and incubated. In a second experiment, samples were both directly plated and enriched in Bolton enrichment broth. In the first experiment, 35/60 carcass rinses were positive for the organism while 29/60 weep samples yielded Campylobacter isolates with levels of 1.0 and 1.1 log cfu / ml, respectively. In the second experiment, the Campylobacter recovery by direct plating was 9/40 and 13/40, respectively for rinse and weep methods; enrichment yielded 28/40 and 23/40 carcass positives, respectively. There was no significant difference in prevalence between the two methods as determined by Chi square. Levels recovered by both methods averaged 0.9 log cfu Campylobacter / ml. Sampling of weep fluid was a simple, effective means of detecting this important human enteropathogen on broiler carcasses.