Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Eggs contaminated with Salmonella have become a major source of human salmonellosis. Older hens are force-molted by feed removal for 12 to 14 days to stimulate continued egg production. The forced molted hens are highly susceptible to Salmonella infection which results in the contamination of their eggs. During the present study, we provided lactose (milk sugar) in the drinking water of hens during the 14 day molting procedure. In two of three experiments, the molting hens given lactose were highly resistant to Salmonella infection. The results show that putting lactose in the drinking water of hens during molting may provide a way for egg producers to reduce Salmonella contaminated eggs and human salmonellosis.
Technical Abstract: Aging leghorn hens were divided into three groups and designated as unmolted controls, molted untreated, or molted treated with lactose. Molt was induced by 14 d feed removal. Lactose was provided as 2.5% of the daily drinking water. On d 7 of feed removal, all groups were challenged orally with 10**5 Salmonella enteritidis (SE). The study was repeated in three replicated trials. Compared to the unmolted controls, SE cecal and spleen/liver colonization was significantly increased (P<0.05) in the molted untreated hens. Compared to the molted untreated hens, cecal and spleen/liver colonization was significantly decreased (P<0.05) in the molted hens provided lactose. The results indicated that the resistance of aging leghorn hens to SE colonization during forced molt induced by feed removal may be significantly enhanced by providing lactose in the drinking water.