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Title: Application of chlorine dioxide to lessen bacterial contamination during broiler defeathering

item Berrang, Mark
item Meinersmann, Richard - Rick
item Cox, Nelson - Nac
item Cray, Paula

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2010
Publication Date: 3/1/2011
Citation: Berrang, M.E., Meinersmann, R.J., Cox Jr, N.A., Cray, P.J. 2011. Application of chlorine dioxide to lessen bacterial contamination during broiler defeathering. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 20(1):33-39.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is a human pathogen that can be found on poultry and poultry meat products. As broiler carcasses are processed, the numbers of Campylobacter on the carcasses are reduced during the scald step which loosens feathers. However, the actual feather removal step causes the numbers of Campylobacter to increase dramatically on broiler carcasses. As a result this carcass is more likely to carry large numbers of Campylobacter through the rest of processing. We tested a chlorine dioxide spray on carcasses during feather removal as a means to keep numbers of pathogenic bacteria from increasing. Carcasses being processed in a commercial plant were treated either with chlorine dioxide or a standard feather removal procedure. Carcasses were cultured for numbers of Campylobacter and E. coli as well as for the presence of Salmonella. In order to examine the affect of the treatment on carcass bacteria, pathogenic bacteria isolated from treated and control carcasses were tested for resistance to antibacterial drugs. Carcasses that were defeathered with the chorine dioxide treatment had lower numbers of Campylobacter and E. coli than control carcasses. Treated carcasses were also less likely to be positive for Salmonella. However, the chemical treatment did not have any affect on antibacterial resistance in either Campylobacter or Salmonella. Chlorine dioxide may have utility as an antibacterial treatment during broiler feather removal.

Technical Abstract: Due to escape of contaminated gut contents, the number of Campylobacter spp. recovered from broiler carcasses increases during feather removal. Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is approved for use as an antimicrobial treatment during poultry processing. A study was designed to test if application of 50 ppm ClO2 during feather removal could prevent the expected increase in Campylobacter numbers on carcasses. Three replications were conducted each using carcasses from different Campylobacter positive flocks. Carcasses were collected from the shackle line immediately before and after de-feathering with and without ClO2 spray; all carcasses were subjected to a whole carcass rinse. Rinsate was cultured for Campylobacter, E. coli and Salmonella. Carcasses sprayed with chorine dioxide during de-feathering had significantly lower numbers of Campylobacter and E. coli than carcasses treated with water spray control de-feathering. Chlorine dioxide de-feathering treatment also resulted in lower prevalence of Salmonella than control de-feathering. Application of ClO2 during feather removal may have potential as a means to mitigate the increase in bacterial contamination associated with broiler de-feathering.