Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2018
Publication Date: 9/26/2018
Citation: Berrang, M.E., Meinersmann, R.J., Adams, E.S. 2018. Shredded sponge or paper as a cloacal plug to limit broiler carcass Campylobacter contamination during automated defeathering. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. https://doi.org/10.3382/japr/pfy051.
Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is a human food borne pathogen that can be present in the gut of broiler chickens. As such, this bacteria can contaminate chicken skin and meat. Campylobacter can be spread during slaughter and processing operations due to leakage of fecal matter out of the vent of carcasses. Such leakage is particularly problematic during automated feather removal as the action of the rubber feather picking fingers can compress the abdomen and force feces out of the vent. We tested shredded sponge or paper as a means to plug broiler carcass cloacae during automated feather removal in order to prevent leakage during feather removal. Broiler carcass cloacae were plugged and carcasses were sampled to determine the bacterial numbers present on breast skin before and after feather picking. A plug made by hand placing 50 mL shredded sponge material into the cloacae of broiler carcasses was effective to occlude the vents during automated defeathering. Significantly fewer Campylobacter cells were detected on the breast skin of post pick carcasses plugged with 50 mL of shredded sponge than on post pick unplugged control carcasses.
Technical Abstract: Campylobacter is a human food borne pathogen frequently associated with poultry and poultry products and can be found in high numbers within the gut contents of positive broilers. The number of Campylobacter on broiler carcasses increases markedly during automated defeathering as rubber picker fingers press on the abdomen and can force gut contents out of the cloaca. One means to prevent this increase is to plug the cloaca and prevent escape of gut contents. For a plug to be effective it must have high friction to prevent expulsion of the plug during picking. In the current work, we test shredded sponge or paper as a means to plug broiler carcass cloacae during automated feather removal. Broiler carcass cloacae were plugged before scalding and carcasses were sampled to determine the bacterial numbers present on breast skin after scalding (before feather picking) and again after feather picking. Neither 50 mL of shredded paper nor 25mL of shredded sponge was effective as a cloacal plug. However, a plug made of 50 mL shredded sponge material was effective to occlude broiler carcass vents during automated defeathering. Significantly fewer Campylobacter cells were detected on the breast skin of post pick carcasses plugged with 50 mL of shredded sponge than on post pick unplugged control carcasses.