Submitted to: Journal Of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 19, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Salmonella bacteria can cause illness and death in humans consuming contaminated poultry products. It is important to understand and identify the points during processing of poultry at which Salmonella bacteria gain a foothold. In this study, the crop, located in the upper portion of the digestive tract in poultry, has been identified as a major source of Salmonella contamination of chicken meat at the processing plant. Furthermore we observed that the numbers of crops contaminated by Salmonella were higher in chickens not allowed access to feed prior to slaughter than in crops from chickens allowed access to feed before slaughter. Feed is commonly withdrawn immediately prior to slaughter in commercial poultry processing. These findings clearly identify the crop as a critical point in relation to Salmonella contamination and will aid in designing management practices aimed at reducing Salmonella contamination of chicken during the slaughter process.
The crop has been implicated as an important source of carcass contamination in the processing plant. In the present study, broiler chicks maintained on litter were challenged orally at 6 weeks of age with Salmonella enteritidis. At 7 weeks of age, chicks were randomly divided into 2 groups consisting of full access to feed or total feed withdrawal 18 h prior to sample collection. Crops and ceca were aseptically removed and cultured for the presence or absence of S. enteritidis. The incidence of culture-positive crops was consistently higher (2.8- to 7.3-fold) following feed withdrawal compared to full-fed chicks. The incidence of culture-positive ceca was higher (1.4- to 2.1-fold) following feed withdrawal compared to full-fed-chicks. Subsequently, ceca and crops were aseptically collected and cultured for Salmonella prior to or following 8- h feed withdrawal at a commercial broiler house. The incidence of culture- positive crops was greater (P<.01) following feed withdrawal compared to samples collected prior to withdrawal. There was no difference between the two groups for culture-positive ceca. The results indicate that feed withdrawal increases the incidence of Salmonella in broiler crops and increases the potential for carcass contamination during processing.