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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Use of the Midi Sherlock Microbial Identification System to Monitor the Occurrence of Campylobacter in Scald Water and on Prescalded and Defeathered Broiler Carcasses in Commercial Poultry Processing

item Hinton, Jr, Arthur
item Cason Jr, John
item Hume, Michael - USDA, COLLEGE STATION TX
item Ingram, Kimberly

Submitted to: Southern Poultry Science Society Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2003
Publication Date: January 26, 2004
Citation: Hinton Jr, A., Cason Jr, J.A., Hume, M.E., Ingram, K.D. 2004. Use of the midi sherlock microbial identification system to monitor the occurrence of campylobacter in scald water and on prescalded and defeathered broiler carcasses in commercial poultry processing. [abstract] Southern Poultry Science Society Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 208.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter bacteria are the major cause of human foodborne diseases, and contaminated poultry products are one of the main sources of the bacteria. Determining how these bacteria are spread during poultry processing might help to find ways to reduce the contamination of processed poultry. Therefore, an experiment was conducted in which an automated bacterial identification system was used to examine the presence of Campylobacter on chicken carcasses during the early stages of processing. The identification system was also used to determine how closely the Campylobacter isolated from carcasses were related. Results indicated that more Campylobacter were on the chicken carcasses with the feathers intact than on the carcasses that had been passed through hot water and a feather removal machine. The experiment also showed that chickens may carry several different types of Campylobacter into processing plants. The same type of Campylobacter was found on chickens processed on the same day, but not on chickens that were processed at the same plant on different days. This work indicated Campylobacter brought into the processing plant by chickens may be found in scald water samples and carcasses that have undergone different processing operations. However, Campylobacter apparently cannot survive in the plant and contaminate chickens that are processed in the plant at a later date.

Technical Abstract: The MIDI Sherlock Microbial Identification System (MIS) was used to monitor the spread of Campylobacter spp. during commercial poultry processing. Prescalded and defeathered broiler carcasses and scald water samples from a multi-tank scalder were collected during 2 visits to a processing facility. Campylobacter on broiler carcasses and in water samples were enumerated on a selective bacteriological media. The MIS was used to confirm the identity of Campylobacter isolates based on the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profile of the isolates, and the dendrogram program of the MIS was used to determine the degree of relatedness between the isolates. Results indicated that scalding and defeathering generally produced significant reductions in the number of Campylobacter recovered from carcasses. Additionally, significantly fewer Campylobacter were recovered from the final tank of the multiple tank scald system than from the first tank. Dendrograms of FAME profiles of the isolates indicated that flocks may carry several strains of Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli into processing plants. The same strain may be isolated from scald water samples and from prescalded and picked carcasses collected on the same processing day, but the same strains were not isolated from samples collected on a different processing day. Findings indicate that Campylobacter brought into the processing facility by broiler flocks may be recovered from scald water samples and carcasses that have undergone different processing operations. However, Campylobacter apparently is unable to colonize processing plant facilities; therefore, cross contamination between broilers processed on different days is probably rare.

Last Modified: 4/17/2015
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