Submitted to: International Association for Food Protection
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2003
Publication Date: 8/7/2003
Citation: Berrang, M.E., Smith, D.P., Windham, W.R., Feldner, P.W. 2003. Effect of gut content contamination on broiler carcass campylobacter counts. International Association for Food Protection. August 10-13, 2003. New Orleans, LA.
Technical Abstract: Gut contents may contaminate broiler carcasses during processing. All such material must be washed off prior to carcasses entering an immersion chill tank. The objective of this study was to determine what affect contamination with intestinal contents had on the numbers of Campylobacter detected in broiler carcass rinse samples. On each of three replicate sample days, twenty four eviscerated broiler carcasses were collected from the shackle line in a commercial processing plant immediately after passing through an inside/outside washer. Ceca from the same flock were also collected. Contents from multiple ceca were squeezed out manually, homogenized and placed into sterile syringes fitted with sterile 20 gauge needles. Broiler carcasses were cut longitudinally into contralateral halves using a sanitized saw. Paired carcass halves were divided into three groups of eight each, then cecal contents (either 10, 50 or 100 mg) were placed onto one randomly selected half of each carcass. The corresponding half of the same broiler carcass was left uncontaminated for comparison. Each carcass half was sampled by rinsing in 100 ml of PBS. Campylobacter counts from carcass halves with cecal contamination were compared to the uncontaminated halves of the same carcasses using a paired t test. In all cases, carcass halves with cecal contamination had significantly more Campylobacter than those without (P < 0.01). Carcass halves contaminated with only 10 mg of cecal contents had an average of log10 4.6 cfu Campylobacter per ml of rinse while corresponding un-contaminated carcass halves had log10 2.9 cfu Campylobacter per ml rinse. These data show that even small (10 mg) spots of cecal contents can cause a significant increase in the numbers of Campylobacter on eviscerated broiler carcasses. Therefore, it is important to keep such contamination to a minimum during processing.