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Title: Campylobacter detection in broiler ceca at processing - a three year 211 flock survey

item Berrang, Mark
item Meinersmann, Richard - Rick
item LADELY, SCOTT - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item Cox Jr, Nelson

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2017
Citation: Berrang, M.E., Meinersmann, R.J., Ladely, S.R., Cox Jr, N.A. 2017. Campylobacter detection in broiler ceca at processing - a three year 211 flock survey. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 26:154-158.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is a human pathogen that has been associated with chicken and chicken meat products. This organism is a natural member of the bacterial community in the gut of chickens and other birds. Human campylobacteriosis has a distinct seasonality, with disease incidence peaking in warmer months of the year. There has been discussion regarding the affect of season on the prevalence of Campylobacter in chicken gut contents. We collected chicken gut samples from one commercial broiler slaughter plant. We tested one bird from each of 211 flocks over a three year period. Gut contents were cultured for Campylobacter and the prevalence of positive flocks was examined relative to month of the year, maximum daily temperature and rainfall. Overall, 55% of flocks were found to be positive for Campylobacter. There was no significant trend according to month or daily maximum temperature. Furthermore, rainfall on the day of slaughter or total rainfall during the chicken grow-out period did not have any significant effect on Campylobacter prevalence. Campylobacter can be expected to be present in the gut contents of many flocks of commercially grown chickens, but there is no evidence of seasonality or affect of rain on Campylobacter detection.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter is associated with live broilers and chicken meat products. There is some discussion in the literature about the possibility that Campylobacter prevalence in broilers could be affected by season or weather conditions. The objective of this study was to measure the flock prevalence of Campylobacter by sampling cecal contents from multiple flocks in one commercial slaughter plant over the course of three years. Two hundred and eleven discrete cecal samples, each from a different flock, were cultured for Campylobacter. Weather data, collected daily at a nearby University of Georgia experiment station, was used for testing for potential relationships between environmental conditions and Campylobacter detection. Fifty five percent of flocks were found to be Campylobacter positive. No clear trend was uncovered for Campylobacter prevalence related to month of year or daily maximum temperature. Furthermore, no significant relationship was noted between prevalence of Campylobacter and rainfall on the day of slaughter or the total rainfall during the grow-out period.