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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Wesley, Irene
item Harbaugh, Ellen
item Trampel, Darrell
item Rivera, Fernando
item Rostagno, Marcos
item Hurd, Howard

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2006
Publication Date: 4/12/2006
Citation: Wesley, I.V., Harbaugh, E., Trampel, D.W., Rivera, F., Hurd, H.S. 2006. The effect of perimarketing events on the prevalence of salmonella in market weight turkeys. Journal of Food Protection. 69(8):1785-1793.

Interpretive Summary: Salmonella causes an estimated one million cases of foodborne illness resulting in 500 deaths annually. Consumption of contaminated poultry is a risk factor for human salmonellosis. The purpose of this study was to determine if the events prior to slaughter, including transport, influence the level of Salmonella in turkeys delivered to the slaughterhouse. Turkeys are placed in clean transport crates where they remain until they are shackled at the slaughterhouse, approximately 6 hours later. To monitor the shedding of Salmonella associated with transport, we sampled crates after loading on the farm prior to transport. After arrival at the slaughter plant and resting the holding shed, crates were resampled. We found no difference in the levels of Salmonella contaminated crates pre- and post-transport. This suggests that transport has limited effect on the prevalence of Salmonella in turkeys. This is in contrast to the increase in Salmonella after transport which has been reported for hogs and broilers. Thus, on-farm strategies for reducing Salmonella in turkeys should be directed at events that occur prior to transport.

Technical Abstract: The goal of this study was to determine if perimarketing events, such as crating, loadout on-farm, transport, and, finally, holding at the slaughterhouse, impact Salmonella prevalence in turkeys. Floors of transport crates were swabbed after loading and prior to transport at the farm (Time 1, n = 100 swabs per trial) and after transport and holding at the abattoir (Time 2, n = 100 swabs per trial). In addition, environmental samples were taken at each of the six premises (n = 25 per premise) as well as in the holding shed at the abattoir (n = 25 samples per trial). At slaughter, crops, ceca, and spleens were cultured (n = 50 each per premise). Based on culture of crate swabs collected pre- and post-transport, when individual farms were analyzed only one premise showed a significant decline post-transport. Overall, when data from all farms were combined, swabs collected after loading on-farm (Time 1, 47.8%) had a higher recovery of Salmonella than swabs collected after transport (Time 2, 39.4%, P < 0.01). Farm prevalence, based on recoveries from ceca at slaughter, ranged from 4% to 100%, while environmental swabs collected on-farm ranged from 0% to 96%. Based on culture of crate floor swabs taken pre- and post-transport, perimarketing events were not associated with a significant increase in Salmonella prevalence in market weight turkeys. Results of crate swabs collected pre- and post-transport, suggest that perimarketing events have minimal effect on the prevalence of Salmonella in turkeys. This is in contrast to what is reported for hogs and broilers.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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