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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microbiological Quality Assurance in the Hatchery

item Berrang, Mark
item Cox, Nelson

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 1999
Publication Date: July 10, 1999

Interpretive Summary: Commercial chicken hatcheries are known to be contaminated with salmonellae. This organism, a human pathogen, can gain entry into the newly hatched chick and be carried to the egg production farm. This organism can then be spread from bird to bird and possibly be found in the eggs. Therefore, hatchery sanitation is an important control point for prevention of human pathogens into poultry, their eggs and subsequently the human food supply. Hatchery sanitation procedures such as egg sanitization and hatching cabinet sanitization during hatch should be applied. When done in concert with microbiological monitoring to measure effectiveness, these procedures can lessen the likelihood that human pathogens will be transferred to the layer farm with the chicks.

Technical Abstract: The hatchery can be a reservoir for salmonellae. While only a few eggs enter the hatchery positive this leads to extensive cross contamination during hatch. One chick pipping through the shell of a contaminated egg can cause spread of Salmonella to chicks in trays both above and below. Broiler hatcheries have been shown to be contaminated with salmonellae by sampling of egg shell, belt swab and paper pad samples. In 1990, more than 75 % of these samples were positive. Therefore, the hatchery has been identified by many researchers as one primary control point for the entry of salmonellae into poultry. There are several intervention techniques which can be applied to prevent the entry of human pathogens to the newly hatched chick. One promising technique that has been tested in the field on broiler chicks is competitive exclusion. However, this technology will be confounded by the presence of salmonellae in the hatchery. Therefore, hatchery sanitation is of utmost importance. The first step is to sanitize hatching eggs as soon after lay as possible; then the transportation chain must be carefully controlled to prevent re-contamination of the eggs. Hatching cabinets should be fitted with nozzles for application of chemical agents during the last hours of hatch. After hatch, an effective competitive exclusion culture may be applied to prevent colonization with salmonellae from environmental sources during growth and production. Finally, a careful clean out and sanitation program must be followed between hatches and through out the facility. When coupled with a microbiological monitoring program, these procedures will help to

Last Modified: 4/20/2015
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