Submitted to: Poultry Processor Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 12, 2004
Publication Date: July 1, 2004
Citation: Buhr, R.J. 2004. Anti-microbial intervention strategies: process control. Poultry Processor Workshop Proceedings, United State Poultry and Egg Association, Atlanta, Georgia, May 12, 2004. p.172-205. CDROM
Process control is a term used to describe the ideal operation of the poultry processing plant that results in the absence of visible fecal contamination on carcasses prior to entering into the chiller. Intervention strategies are intended to minimize the association of processed carcasses and the human food borne pathogens Salmonella, E. Coli, and Campylobacter (contained within ingesta and feces). The classical strategies for intervention are isolation, prevention, and removal. The goal of a bio-security program is the isolation from pathogens of the breeder flock through the hatchery to the broiler growout facility. Prevention programs using vaccination in breeders have been attempted for Salmonella with limited success, but vaccination does not provide complete resistance to colonization by pathogens. Competitive exclusion attempts to colonize the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria and can be administered in the hatchery, or with feed and water on the farm. Several feed and water administered pro-biotics claim to reduce pathogen colonization, mainly through lowering of digestive tract pH by utilizing lactic acid producing bacteria cultures. Removal of pathogens from carcasses during processing mainly includes chemicals (acids and bases) that adjust pH or kill bacteria such as chlorine or ozone. Bacteriophages offer hope in killing specifically targeted bacteria after packaging. Feed withdrawal periods of 8 to 12 hours are typical and reduce the amount of ingesta and feces within the digestive tract and the relative amount of bacteria. However, feed withdrawal also permits the pH to rise toward neutral and results in proliferation of Salmonella and Campylobacter within the tract. During processing the number of bacteria that are recovered from a carcass typically decrease as they pass from defeathering to chilling. The evisceration systems that separate the viscera from the carcass prior to inspection prevent the possibility of re-contamination from tract content leakage following inspection. Numerous pre-chill chemical sprays claim to reduce carcass bacteria levels. Few are as economical or as effective as chlorinated chiller water. The goal to have E. coli levels of less than 100 cells per mL of carcass rinse should be easily obtainable with adequate process controls.