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Re-used litter bedding does not appear to increase Campylobacter colonization under commercial settings in poultry.

The effect of three different litter treatment regimens on the level of Campylobacter in ceca and litter on two commercial broiler farms across six production cycles over two years in Australia was investigated. The litter treatments were: 1) the use of new litter after each farming cycle, b) an Australian partial litter re-use practice, and 3) a full litter re-use practice. Campylobacter levels changed only minimally across the litter practices, and were in the range of log 8-9 CFU/g ceca and log 4-6 MPN/g litter. The patterns of Campylobacter emergence/presence across time varied between the farms, cycles and the point of testing (e.g., at thinning and final pick-up). The emergence and levels of Campylobacter was found not to be influenced by litter treatment on either of two farms across the six production cycles. It was shown that either C. jejuni or C. coli could be the dominant species regardless of the specific litter practice. It was also observed that cycle 2 on one of the farms was always Campylobacter free irrespective of the litter treatments in place. Of note, similar results were obtained for generic Escherichia coli. These findings suggest that different litter treatment practices in place on commercial poultry farms have an insignificant effect on the onset and level of Campylobacter in ceca and litter.

A low pH processing aid to reduce Campylobacter counts on broiler carcasses.

Effectiveness of a low pH processing aid (CMS PoultrypHresh) against Campylobacter on skin-on split chicken breast or skin-on chicken thigh was determined after artificial inoculation of the meats with C. coli. Treatment of the chicken parts with PoultrypHresh for 25 s with agitation (bubbled air) resulted in 99.6% reduction in Campylobacter counts on split breast and 99.4% reduction on thighs as compared with deionized water. This study indicates that an approximate 3 log reduction achieved by a 25 s air agitation treatment in PoultrypHresh at pH 1.4 with no observable damage to meat will help processors to meet new regulations and performance standards set by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Risk factors for carcass contamination by Campylobacter at the slaughter in Belgium.

In order to identify the risk factors for contamination levels on broiler carcasses by Campylobacter, the levels of the organism on carcasses were quantified across the slaughter line during the processing of Campylobacter positive flocks. The microbiological results were combined with the slaughterhouse and batch related characteristics for analysis. It was found that the higher contamination level of incoming birds on feathers and in ceca, and the shorter transport and holding time of live birds (associated with shorter feed withdrawal time) increased the level of Campylobacter counts on carcasses at the 5 different sampling sites throughout the slaughter process. In addition, several technical characteristics of the slaughter process such as a dump based unloading system, electrical stunning, lower scalding temperature, incorrect setting of plucking, vent cutter and evisceration equipment were associated with higher counts of Campylobacter on processed carcasses.  This study suggests that poultry slaughterhouse operations can implement several changes during the processing steps that are both practical and economical without use of chemical or physical decontamination.

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