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Poult Sci. 2005 Sep;84(9):1499-504.

Bacteria recovery from genetically feathered and featherless broiler carcasses after immersion chilling.

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Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit, Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, USDA, ARS, PO Box 5677, Athens, Georgia 30604-5677, USA.


Feathered and featherless (scaleless) sibling broilers were reared and processed together to evaluate the influence of feathers and feather follicles on carcass bacteria recovery after chilling. In each experiment, broilers were inoculated 1 wk prior to processing by oral gavage with a suspension of salmonellae or Campylobacter at 106 cells/mL. Broilers were stunned and bled, and carcasses were single-tank or triple-tank scalded, defeathered, eviscerated, and washed. Carcasses were chilled for 45 min in ice and water immersion chillers with or without 20 mg of chlorine/L added. Postchill carcass rinsates were evaluated for Escherichia coli, coliforms, total aerobes, and salmonellae or Campylobacter. Following processing and immersion chilling, genetically featherless carcasses had slightly higher counts (by log10 0.35 cfu/100 mL of carcass rinsate) for E. coli, coliforms, and total aerobes than feathered carcasses. However, there were no significant differences in the prevalence of salmonellae (25%) or Campylobacter (93%) between feathered and featherless carcasses. Recovery of E. coli, coliforms, and total aerobic bacteria were lower for carcasses that were single-tank scalded, and following enrichment, salmonellae were recovered from fewer carcasses subjected to the single-tank (71%) than triple-tank (86%) scalding. Addition of chlorine to chiller water significantly decreased carcass bacteria recovery (by log10 0.43 cfu/100 mL of carcass rinsate) for E. coli, coliforms, total aerobes, and Campylobacter but did not affect salmonellae recovery. The presence of feathers and feather follicles during processing and immersion chilling appears to have minimal influence on the recovery of salmonellae or Campylobacter from carcasses sampled after immersion chilling.

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