Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #193021


item Berrang, Mark

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2006
Publication Date: 2/23/2006
Citation: Berrang, M.E. 2006. Salmonella and campylobacter in broiler transport cages. Advances in Post-Harvest Interventions to Reduce Salmonella in Poultry, February 23, 2006. Atlanta, Georgia.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Salmonella and Campylobacter can contaminate chicken transport coops due to feces left by flocks positive for these zoonotic pathogens. This talk focuses on published research which reports the prevalence and numbers of Salmonella and Campylobacter in transport coops, the results of this contamination and efforts to remove it. Both Salmonella and Campylobacter have been reported in transport coops prior to use, even after washing and sanitizing. Data will be presented showing that cross contamination can occur due to Campylobacter or Salmonella contamination in transport coops. Broilers from an uncontaminated flock can become positive simply due to exposure to contaminated feces during transport and holding in the coop. This contamination has been shown to remain on the carcass during processing, creating a food safety concern. Some washing and sanitizing procedures have been developed that are reported to lessen the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter on coop surfaces in experimental conditions. Fecal contamination on coop surfaces can be lessened significantly by a water spray and under some circumstances addition of a sanitizing step further lowers the numbers of bacteria and the prevalence of pathogens. Allowing contaminated fecal matter to dry out in cages for 24 to 48 hours has been shown to be an effective means to lower the numbers of Campylobacter in transport coops. Washing and sanitizing transport coops under commercial conditions at processing plants has also been shown to be helpful to lower bacterial numbers. However, other studies have been published showing that commercial coop washing procedures can break down due to human error, incorrect application of chemical or incomplete removal of fecal matter. Some procedures that have been tested and found to be effective are impractical due to logistical or economic constraints. The overall conclusion is that cage washing and sanitizing is an expensive proposition with questionable efficacy. Therefore, more research is warranted to uncover the most efficient means to sanitize coops.