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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359936

Research Project: Production and Processing Intervention Strategies for Poultry Associated Foodborne Pathogens

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit

Title: Impact of postmortem holding temperature on feather retention force and broiler carcass microbiology

item BOURASSA, DIANNA - Auburn University
item Harris, Caitlin
item Bartenfeld Josselson, Lydia
item RICHTER, STEPHANIE - Georgia Tech
item DALEY, WAYNE - Georgia Tech
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff

Submitted to: International Poultry Scientific Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/19/2018
Publication Date: 2/11/2019
Citation: Bourassa, D.V., Harris, C.E., Bartenfeld, L.N., Richter, S., Daley, W., Buhr, R.J. 2019. Impact of postmortem holding temperature on feather retention force and broiler carcass microbiology [abstract]. International Poultry Scientific Forum. 98(E-Suppl.1):M14. p.36.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Commercial on farm slaughter could eliminate many potential animal welfare issues associated with cooping, transport, dumping, and shackling of live broilers. However, concerns regarding carcass processing efficiency and microbiological status following the delay between slaughter on the farm and scalding at the processing plant following transport must be investigated. Live broilers obtained from a commercial processing plant were transported to Auburn University, stunned at 15 V for 10 s, and then bled for 2 min in batches of 5. Carcasses that were delayed prior to scalding were held suspended in shackles for 4 h at refrigerated (4C), room (27C) or body (40C) temperatures. One control batch of 5 carcasses was processed without scalding delay. Prior to scalding, 6 wing secondary remiges and 6 tail rectrices were extracted and maximum feather retention force (FRF) measured. All carcasses were hard scalded at 60C for 60 s, defeathered for 30 s, and sampled post-evisceration for microbiological analysis. Whole carcass rinses (WCR) were sampled for aerobic plate count (APC), Enterobacteriaceae (EB), Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Ilea and ceca were sampled for Lactobacillus, EB, total anaerobes (TA), Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Carcass holding temperature significantly impacted wing and tail FRF for all four treatment groups (P<0.0001). Carcasses held at 4C had the highest peak FRF for both wing and tail feathers (4.26, 1.96 kgf) followed by the non-delayed control group (3.19, 1.66 kgf), followed by the group held at 27C (2.49, 0.94 kgf), and the group held at 40C (0.89, 0.52 kgf). No significant differences in bacterial counts were detected for WCR, APC, or EB or for ilea or ceca Lactobacillus, EB, or TA (P>0.1970). There were significantly fewer Salmonella WCR positive samples for the 40'C carcasses in comparison to 4C or 27C carcasses (20% vs. 100%). Significantly fewer 27C held ilea were positive for Campylobacter when compared to 40C held carcasses (20% vs. 100%). No other treatments were significantly different for Salmonella or Campylobacter prevalence. This study revealed that carcass holding temperature following slaughter significantly impacts the force required for feather removal while having only minimal impact on carcass microbiology.