Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 7, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Elimination or at least significant control of salmonellae and other pathogens from the U.S. food supply continues to be a top priority of regulators, researchers and the industry. Years of experience have led us to the conclusion that the best way to reduce salmonellae and other pathogens on the processed chicken carcass is to deliver to the processing plant chickens with no or reduced levels of salmonellae. To enable the poultry industry to grow birds with reduced levels of salmonellae epidemiological data is needed to show the relative contribution of all sources of salmonellae during the production and processing of chickens. This study involved over 10,000 samples from 4 chicken producers in 4 states for a whole year and is the first to comprehensively examine on a multistate basis the sources of salmonellae and should result in adoption of new management practices by the industry which will lead to significantly less salmonellae and other pathogens on chickens going to the consumer.
Technical Abstract: The prevalence of Salmonella from numerous sources in 32 integrated broiler operations of high and low performing broiler houses were characterized from 4 states across 4 seasons. Previous poultry epidemiological studies have been limited in scope, offering only a snapshot of pathogen prevalence as seen on a small number of individual farms. Twenty-six different sample types were collected from the hatchery to the end of processing and Salmonella were found in all sample types. A total of 10,740 samples were analyzed for Salmonella, and 973 (9.1%) of these samples, including 49 of 798 (6.1%) carcass rinse samples were Salmonella positive. Hatchery transport pads (389/765, 50.8%), flies (28/150, 18.7%), drag swabs (57/402, 14.2%) and boot swabs (20/167, 12%) were samples from which Salmonella were most frequently isolated. Thirty-six different serotypes were identified, and the most frequently encountered serotypes were S. Senftenberg, S. Thompson and S. Montevideo. Determining critical contaminating sources and following the movement of Salmonella through integrated poultry operations will assist researchers and the industry in developing practical intervention strategies.