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Investigations into Changes of Campylobacter Numbers on Broiler Carcasses During and Following Processing


<p>This project aims to determine changes in campylobacter carcass contamination levels in poultry processing plants, their possible causes and propose ways to reduce contamination .</p>

<p>Poultry plants participating in an Agency-funded campylobacter monitoring programme (FS241051A) will be invited to take part in the project. These plants will be visited with carcasses sampled at various stages of the process to ascertain where contamination of the carcass is reduced or increased. While carrying out the measurements, the process operations will be observed to identify possible factors that could influence changes in microbial load.</p>

<p>Modifications or interventions will be suggested to minimise the increase or enhance the decrease in campylobacter numbers on post-chilled carcasses. Limited molecular studies will be undertaken on isolates collected from the sampling trials to investigate if different species or certain company strains are influencing the shift in campylobacter numbers through processing where no physical reason can be found.</p>

<p>Previous studies suggest cross-contamination onto negative flocks is a less important factor for controlling campylobacters on carcasses. Therefore this project will mainly focus on colonised flocks and how to limit carcass surface contamination. However, since the original cross-contamination work from positive to negative flocks was carried out in only a few plants, studies regarding the contamination of negative flocks will also be undertaken to confirm this is the case and identify where cross-contamination occurs across a range of plants. </p>

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<p>Background: The sources of the campylobacters found on carcasses are the intestinal contents of flocks colonised by campylobacters and their faecally-contaminated feathers. Various stages during poultry processing have been reported to contribute to the contamination on the final carcass. These include scalding, de-feathering, evisceration, and chilling.</p>

<p>De-feathering and evisceration have both been identified as particularly important processes for contaminating carcasses. Contamination occurs not only from feathers and gut contents of the same carcass, but also between different carcasses (cross-contamination) due to the high speed and mechanised nature of the poultry slaughter process, combined with extensive use of water. </p>

Bristol University
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