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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 #250268

Title: From Poults to Platter

item Wesley, Irene

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/2010
Publication Date: 3/19/2010
Citation: Wesley, I.V. 2010. From Poults to Platter [abstract]. Annual Meeting of the Midwest Poultry Federation, March 16-18, 2010, St. Paul, Minnesota. 2010 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella are human pathogens which together cause ~3.3 million foodborne cases with productivity losses estimated at $4.1 billion annually. Because they are commensals of healthy poultry and important foodborne zoonotic agents, consuming or handling contaminated poultry are acknowledged risk factors. The 1996-1998 USDA national microbial baseline detected both Salmonella (18.2%) and Campylobacter (~ 90%) on turkey carcasses. Herein we summarize our studies which track the entry of Campylobacter and Salmonella from the brooder house to slaughter. We found Salmonella in 4% of day-of-hatch poults (n=103) incriminating the hatchery as the source of contamination. At market weight, Salmonella prevalence was 4.5% (n=50). In contrast, those same day-of-hatch poults arrived in the brooder free of Campylobacter. By the third week prior to entering the grow-out house, Campylobacter was found in ~90% of turkeys (n=50), a trend which continues to slaughter when 84% of turkeys (n=50) harbored Campylobacter. Studies completed in the grow-out house indicated that ventilation may impact the prevalence of Salmonella but have no impact on Campylobacter. This indicates that on-farm pathogen reduction strategies differentially impact these bacterial agents. Two studies examined the effect of perimarketing events, such as loading at the farm, transport, and lairage at the abattoir, on Salmonella and Campylobacter. In one study in which the floors of transport crates were swabbed pre- (n= 600) and post (n=600) transport, Salmonella prevalence was actually higher in samples taken prior to transport (P<0.05). In a second study the overall prevalence of Salmonella was identical for turkeys slaughtered on-farm to bypass transport (33%, n=180) vs. birds transported to and slaughtered at the abattoir (33%, n=180). However, a statistically significant increase after transport was noted (P<0.05) for the liver and gall bladder. When cloacal swabs were taken pre (n=594) and post (n=559) transport, population shifts were observed in C. coli. In a second study in which individual organs were analyzed, a statistically significant increase in Campylobacter prevalence was seen in the crop as well as in the gall bladder after transport, as noted for Salmonella in those same turkeys. Finally, we compared the prevalence of Campylobacter pre- chiller on three turkey carcass sites: external carcass swabs (~100 cm2), internal thoracic cavity (300 cm2) and excised neck skin samples (100 cm2), which has been considered as a potential sampling site. Overall Campylobacter prevalence estimates were obtained by combining data for the nine sampling trials for external carcass swabs (37.1%, n=275), internal cavity swabs (33.8%, n=210), and neck skins (12.8%, n=227). Neck skins yielded a significantly lower prevalence estimate (P<0.05). This indicates that while easily accessible, neck skin samples may under estimate the Campylobacter prevalence. The overall Campylobacter prevalence for ceca was 94.2% (n=120). This indicates that the significant Campylobacter burden observed in young birds persists in turkeys when entering the abattoir. In 2004 we estimated the Campylobacter prevalence on turkey carcasses pre- chiller (77.3%, n=150) at this same slaughterhouse using similar isolation protocols. HACCP strategies at the commercial processing plant may explain the significant differences between the earlier 2004 (77.3%) Campylobacter estimates and our 2009 carcass data (37.1%).