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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321566

Title: Influence of commercial laying hen housing systems on the incidence and identification of Salmonella and Campylobacter

item Jones, Deana
item Guard, Jean
item Gast, Richard
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item FEDORKA-CRAY, P. - North Carolina State University
item ABDO, Z. - Colorado State University
item Plumblee Lawrence, Jodie
item Bourassa, Dianna
item Cox Jr, Nelson
item Rigsby, Luanne
item ROBISON, C - Michigan State University
item REGMI, P. - Michigan State University
item KARCHER, D. - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2016
Publication Date: 4/15/2016
Citation: Jones, D.R., Guard, J.Y., Gast, R.K., Buhr, R.J., Fedorka-Cray, P.J., Abdo, Z., Plumblee Lawrence, J.R., Bourassa, D.V., Cox Jr, N.A., Rigsby, L.L., Robison, C.I., Regmi, P., Karcher, D.M. 2016. Influence of commercial laying hen housing systems on the incidence and identification of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Poultry Science. 95:1116-1124.

Interpretive Summary: Hen housing continues to be a consumer and regulatory concern in the US. More information is needed for egg industry, legislature, and regulatory personnel to make informed decisions on housing systems. A national collaborative study was undertaken to determine the impact commercial conventional cage, enriched colony cage, and cage-free aviary housing on animal health and well-being; environment; food safety and product quality; food affordability; and worker health. The current paper presented the impacts of commercial hen housing on the incidence and identification of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Salmonella and Campylobacter are human pathogens often associated with foodborne outbreaks. Both organisms were detected in all laying hen production environments tested. There is an influence of hen housing system on the prevalence of the organisms and the species detected. Utilizing the results of the study, producers and academia can make informed decisions on hen housing and management strategies to enhance food safety and hen health.

Technical Abstract: The housing of laying hens is important for social, industrial, and regulatory aspects. Many studies have compared hen housing systems on the research farm, but few have fully examined commercial housing systems and management strategies. The current study compared hens housed in commercial cage-free aviary, conventional cage, and enriched colony cage systems. Environmental and eggshell pool samples were collected from selected cages/segments of the housing systems throughout the production cycle and monitored for Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence. At 77 wks of age, 120 hens per housing system were examined for Salmonella and Campylobacter infection in the: adrenal, spleen, ceca tonsils, follicles, and upper reproductive tract. All isolates detected from environmental swabs, eggshell pools, and organs were identified for species. Two predominant Salmonella were detected in all samples: S. Braenderup and S. Kentucky. Campylobacter coli and jejuni were the only Campylobacter detected in the flocks. Across all housing systems, approximately 7 % of hens were infected with Salmonella, whereas > 90 % were infected with Campylobacter. Salmonella Braenderup was most frequently detected in environmental swabs (P < 0.0001), but housing system impacted Salmonella spp. shedding (P < 0.0001). Campylobacter jejuni was most frequently isolated in environmental swabs (P < 0.01), yet housing system impacted the prevalence of C. coli and jejuni in ceca tonsils (P < 0.0001). The results of this study provide a greater understanding of the impact of hen housing systems on hen health and product safety. Additionally, producers and academia can utilize the findings to make informed decisions on hen housing and management strategies to enhance hen health and food safety.