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Poult Sci. 2000 Feb;79(2):286-90.

Campylobacter recovery from external and internal organs of commercial broiler carcass prior to scalding.

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USDA-ARS, Poultry Processing and Meat Quality Research Unit, Russell Research Center, Athens, Georgia 30604-5677, USA.


Campylobacter is a human pathogen commonly found on live broilers and processed carcasses. To plan effective intervention strategies, it would be helpful to know which Campylobacter populations are associated with the external and internal organs of broilers. Six carcasses were collected after exiting the bleed tunnel at a commercial broiler plant on each of three visits (n = 18). Carcasses were placed individually into sterile plastic bags, sealed, and covered with ice for transport to the laboratory. Five locations were sampled aseptically from each carcass: breast feathers (hand picked from the sternal tracts); breast skin, including the sternal tracts; crop; ceca; and colon. Samples included adhering contamination or lumen contents and were covered with phosphate-buffered saline and blended. Serial dilutions were made for examination of Campylobacter, coliform, Escherichia coli, and total aerobic bacterial populations. Average sample weights (grams) were as follows: feathers, 1.5; skin, 6.5; crop, 5.1; ceca, 7.8; and colon, 3.1. Campylobacter populations (mean log10 colony-forming units per gram of sample) found were feathers, 5.4; skin, 3.8; crop, 4.7; ceca, 7.3; and colon, 7.2. Coliform/E. coli populations observed were feathers, 6.4/6.0; skin, 5.3/4.9; crop, 4.3/3.7; ceca, 6.6/6.2; and colon, 5.8/5.3. Total aerobic bacterial populations found were feathers, 7.9; skin, 7.1; crop, 5.8; ceca, 6.8; and colon, 6.4. On a per gram basis, ceca and colon are the internal organs that if ruptured could cause the highest number of Campylobacter to be leaked onto the carcass. The crop also contained more Campylobacter per gram than did the skin, and if compromised may increase the numbers on the surface of the carcass. However, even with no contamination from an internal organ, a substantial population of Campylobacter is already resident on broiler skin as the carcass enters the early stages of processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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