New research conducted in the USA at the University of Georgia, Athens, has identified a strong link between the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry farms and levels of contamination in processing plants.
The researchers studied 55 commercial broiler chicken flocks and collected environmental samples from broiler houses before slaughter and then performed carcass rinses on birds from the same flocks at four stages in processing.
Salmonella was detected in the farm samples of 91% of flocks and in the processing samples of 95% of flocks, while Campylobacter was present in 64% of the flocks at the farm level and 87% during processing. A significant positive relationship between the prevalence and load of both pathogens in environmental farm samples and processing plant carcass rinses was also found.
The researchers conclude that better control of pathogens on the farm would reduce contamination during processing and would help reduce the risk of foodborne disease. However, they point out that reliable controls for Campylobacter in poultry are not yet available.
A report of the study is published in the June issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, but a copy can currently be found here.