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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Research Project #442203

Research Project: Utilizing Pre-harvest Enumeration and Risk Factors to Predict Ground Turkey Test Results

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Project Number: 3091-32000-037-066-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2022
End Date: Apr 30, 2025

Objective 1. Develop an effective sampling methodology for Salmonella enumeration at turkey pre-harvest. Objective 2. Quantify Salmonella from multiple sample types within a turkey production-chain (grower houses and turkey processing environments). Objective 3. Utilize enumeration data to set diversion thresholds for pre-harvest Salmonella risk groups (no-risk, low-risk, high-risk). Objective 4. Identify and document associations between Salmonella enumeration data and managerial, environmental, spatial, and temporal factors, in order to compile a list of potential risk factors that contribute to high levels of contamination within turkey grower houses, including factors that contribute to turkey grower houses shifting from high contamination levels to low contamination levels, and vice versa. Objective 5. Develop and implement a flock/parts diversion program that can be utilized as a pre-harvest intervention and predict final ground turkey testing outcomes for Salmonella.

Samples will be collected following a longitudinal sampling scheme. Sampling will begin at grower farms, with the experimental unit being flock; a total of 72 flocks will be sampled during the life of the study (2 years), with a total of 6 flocks being sampled every other month. Multiples samples will be taken at grower and processing stages. Due to the length of the turkey grower period (140 days), sampling at grower farms will be conducted at "load out." Samples that will be collected at load out include: Paws (pads specifically), cecas, lung swabs, bootie pair (litter), breast/abdomen feathers, water drinker swabs, and loader belt swabs. Samples during processing (for each flock) will include trailer drag swabs, wing rinse samples (a composite sample taken from 10 birds), ceca samples (a composite sample taken from 10 birds), and final product/grind samples.