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Title: Effect of fecal material on carcass microbiology

item Smith, Douglas

Submitted to: Georgia Poultry Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2006
Publication Date: 9/27/2006
Citation: Smith, D.P. 2006. Effect of fecal material on carcass microbiology. Georgia Poultry Conference Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: Chickens may become contaminated with fecal material from the digestive tract during processing. This contamination may lead to increased numbers of bacteria on carcasses. Automatic bird washers used in the plant reduce bacteria, and the incidence of pathogenic bacteria. Immersion chilling also reduces bacteria, but may promote cross-contamination between clean and dirty carcasses. Proper operation of bird washers and chillers should greatly minimize the risk of consumers coming into contact with pathogens from chicken.

Technical Abstract: Broiler carcass bacterial counts are increased by visible fecal material, therefore further treatment of these carcasses is necessary. Inside-outside bird washers (IOBWs) are used by many processors to remove feces and possibly reduce bacterial counts. A series of studies have shown that IOBWs have little effect on coliform or E. coli numbers, but result in decreased Campylobacter incidence and numbers, and Salmonella incidence. External fecal contamination results in higher bacterial numbers than does internal contamination, and after washing both have higher numbers than control carcasses. Immersion chilling can reduce numbers of bacteria, but also provides opportunity for cross-contamination of pathogens, including Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria. Proper operation of IOBWs and immersion chillers should significantly minimize bacterial numbers and pathogen incidence. The use of antimicrobial compounds in the IOBW and chiller should also be considered.