Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2001
Publication Date: 4/30/2001
Citation: Sander, J., Jackson, C.R., Dufour-Zavala, L., Waltman, W.D., Lobsinger, C., Thayer, S.G., Otalora, R., Maurer, J.J. 2001. Dynamics of salmonella contamination in a commercial quail operation. Avian Diseases. 45:1044-1049. Interpretive Summary: Bacterial contamination of poultry products is a major concern in the food industry. This problem has been investigated extensively in chickens and turkeys, but less so in other poultry products such as quail. In this study, the source of Salmonella contamination on quail carcasses in a quail production facility was investigated. Salmonella was isolated from quail carcasses using rinsates and from quail breeder and production houses using drag swabs. Four Salmonella serotypes (hadar, typhimurium, typhimurium (Copenhagen), and paratyphi) were isolated from the houses and the carcasses. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis, a type of genetic fingerprinting of the isolates revealed that S. typhimurium (Copenhagen) from the breeder houses, production houses, and carcasses had the same genetic fingerprint suggesting a common source of Salmonella contamination. This result was not totally unexpected as the birds used as breeders in this operation were chosen from the birds used for consumption. This study provides useful information for poultry producers as well as those who manage food safety. Additionally, this study shows that more control will be necessary in the production of birds in order to prevent the cycling of Salmonella through the flocks from the breeders to the progeny and potentially to the consumer.
Technical Abstract: Control of carcass contamination requires knowledge of the source and dynamics of spread of Salmonella in commercial poultry production. We examined Salmonella contamination at a US commercial quail operation. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to type isolates in order to trace Salmonella throughout this production environment. During a six month survey, Salmonella serotypes hadar, typhimurium, typhimurium variant Copenhagen, and paratyphi were encountered within this poultry operation. Ninety-four percent of the Salmonella isolated from breeder and production houses, and carcass rinses belonged to Salmonella serotypes typhimurium variant Copenhagen and S. hadar. There were six distinct S. typhimurium variant Copenhagen genetic types, as identified by PFGE, present within this particular poultry operation. Seventy-nine percent of S. typhimurium variant Copenhagen, identified from the environment of the breeder and production houses, produced the same PFGE pattern. Thirty-eight percent of S. typhimurium Copenhagen isolated from carcass rinses and the breeder house shared the same PFGE DNA pattern. This study demonstrates the transmission of salmonellae throughout this production environment, from the breeders to their progeny, and the birds ultimately processed for human consumption.