Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/1999
Publication Date: 2/1/2000
Citation: BERRANG, M.E., BUHR, R.J., CASON JR, J.A. CAMPYLOBACTER RECOVERY FROM THE EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL ORGANS OF COMMERCIAL BROILER CARCASSES PRIOR TO SCALDING. JOURNAL OF POULTRY SCIENCE. 2000. V. 79 P. 286-290
Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is a human pathogen often associated with poultry and poultry products. It is generally thought that Campylobacter primarily flows into the commercial processing facility on and within the live birds and then is disseminated during the various processing procedures. Despite the presence of Campylobacter on the outside of broilers, emphasis is commonly placed on the presence and level of Campylobacter in the alimentary tract. This interest is fueled by the concern that ruptured organs may spill contents rich in Campylobacter onto the carcass. This study was conducted to examine the relative levels of Campylobacter in various internal organs and on the exterior of the carcass as it enters the first stages of processing. On a per gram of sample basis, the ceca and colon had the highest populations, feathers and crop were the next highest and skin was the lowest. When the weight of each sample was taken into account, the skin and feathers were not found to have significantly different levels of Campylobacter than the crop. Coliform, E. coli and total aerobic bacterial populations were also measured and not found to be correlated with Campylobacter. This information can be used by processing plant personnel in designing sanitation programs such that the most important areas of the carcass will be handled appropriately.
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter is a human pathogen commonly found on live broilers and processed carcasses. In order to plan effective intervention strategies, it would be helpful to know what Campylobacter populations are associated with the external and internal organs of broilers. Six carcasses were collected after exiting the bleed tunnel at a commercial broiler plant on each of three visits (n=18). Carcasses were placed individually into sterile plastic bags, sealed and covered with ice for transport to the laboratory. Five locations were sampled aseptically from each carcass: breast feathers (hand picked from the sternal tracts), breast skin including the sternal tracts, the crop, ceca and colon. Samples, included adhering contamination or lumen contents, and were covered with phosphate buffered saline and blended. Serial dilutions were made for examination of Campylobacter, coliform, E. coli and total aerobic bacterial populations. Average sample weights (g) were: feathers:1.5, skin:6.5, crop:5.1, ceca:7.8, colon:3.1. Campylobacter populations (mean log10 colony forming units per gram of sample) found were: feathers:5.4, skin:3.8, crop:4.7, ceca:7.3, colon:7.2. Coliform / E. coli populations observed were: feathers:6.4 / 6.0, skin:5.3 / 4.9, crop:4.3 / 3.7, ceca:6.6 / 6.2, colon:5.8 / 5.3. Total aerobic bacterial populations found were: feathers:7.9, skin:7.1, crop:5.8, ceca:6.8, colon:6.4. Prior to carcass scalding, aerobic bacteria were recovered in greatest numbers from feathers and skin. Campylobacter was recovered at the lowest level from skin.