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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #228206

Title: Prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in Market-Weight Turkeys On-Farm and at Slaughter

item Wesley, Irene
item Rostagno, Marcos

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2008
Publication Date: 1/7/2009
Citation: Wesley, I.V., Rostagno, M.H., Hurd, S.H., Trampel, D. 2009. Prevalence of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in Market-Weight Turkeys On-Farm and at Slaughter. Journal of Food Protection. 72(1):43-48.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter spp. is the number one cause of bacterial foodborne illness and consumption of contaminated poultry is a major risk factor for human infections. Because of the importance of transport and associated perimarketing stress on foodborne bacteria, we assessed the prevalence of Campylobacter in commercial market weight turkeys on-farm within 48 hrs prior to slaughter and at slaughter. We determined that the frequency of Campylobacter increased in the crop and in the gall bladder after transport. This information indicates that these two sites represent potential sources of carcass contamination.

Technical Abstract: To monitor the effects of feed withdrawal on the prevalence of Campylobacter, market weight turkeys from six farms were examined before and after perimarketing events (feed withdrawal, transport, and holding at the slaughterhouse). Prior to transport, birds (n = 30/farm) were slaughtered on-farm and viscera (crops, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, ceca, gall bladder, spleen) were removed on the premises. Within ~ 48 hr, cohorts (n = 30/farm) from the same flock were transported to a commercial abattoir, maintained in holding sheds, slaughtered, and viscera removed. No differences in the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. were evident when individual flocks were compared pre- and post- transport. However, when data for the six farms are combined Campylobacter spp. were recovered (pre- vs post- transport) at comparable rates from the duodenum (74.7% vs 74.7%), ileum (87.3% vs, 92.7%), ceca (64% vs 57%), and colon (86.7% vs 80%), but not from either the gall bladder or spleen. After feed withdrawal, transport and holding at the abattoir, there was an overall increase in Campylobacter spp. isolated from the gall bladder at the abattoir (14.7%) when compared to on-farm levels (0%, P < 0.05). When compared to on-farm levels (3%) the overall increase in Campylobacter spp. recovered from the crop at the abattoir (24%) was significant (P < 0.05), which was associated with a detectable decline in lactic acid in the emptied crop.