Poultry products must be safe for consumers and value-added, ready-to-eat foods must be free of Salmonella. Today, there is an increasing consumer demand for all-natural, Certified Organic poultry and there is an increased need for the poultry industry to invest in value-added poultry products. Therefore, novel, all natural antimicrobials are needed to minimize Salmonella transfer during the slaughter and further processing of all natural and organic raised poultry. Our overall goal in this research is to examine the efficacy of citrus based antimicrobials as economical alternatives that would be readily accepted by both the organic processor and the consumer. <P>The Objectives of this research are to: <OL> <LI>Find new antimicrobials that may reduce the rate of Salmonella positive broiler carcasses. <LI>Validate the effectiveness of natural antimicrobial treatments <LI> Provide a cost-effective basis for processors wishing to use all natural antimicrobials <LI>Work cooperatively to integrate these new treatments into existing HACCP plan.</ol> <P>These objectives parallel USDA objectives of providing answers in the food processing environment that will eventually lead to the reduction or elimination of Salmonella contamination on the final product.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Consumer demand for USDA Certified Organic poultry is growing rapidly. Concerns have surfaced of potentially higher microbial risks from organically-raised animals because of outdoor rearing, longer rearing times, a regulatory prohibition on using antimicrobial and slaughter typically in small facilities. A 2005 study of organically grown chicken showed that more than 60% of chicken carcasses were positive for Salmonella. The Healthy People 2010 has established a goal of no more than 6.8 cases of Salmonellalosis/100,000 persons, which is less than half the current rate. July 2006 USDA/FSIS increased sampling from poultry plants that were unable to keep the number of Salmonella positive broiler carcass under 23%. Previous research on a variety of natural antimicrobials has been promoted, but these antimicrobials are either not commercially available, not GRAS and/or are not economical. For the poultry industry, traditional antimicrobial requirements (effective, economical and user friendly) must also be acceptable to Certified Organic processors and satisfy consumer preference for "all natural." Our preliminary research has demonstrated that citrus based antimicrobials meet these criteria. This proposed research will determine the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) for pure and commercially available citrus essential oil fractions, determine MIC in model poultry skin systems, cooperate with Organic poultry processors determine the effectiveness and economics at two process interventions and evaluate antimicrobial activity in value-added products to increase shelf life.<P>APPROACH: In 2005, the Center for Science in the Public Interest tracked foodborne illness outbreaks with a known etiology and vehicle over a 10 year period from 1990-2000. They found that chicken products were responsible for 179 outbreaks of foodborne illness and of these, 131 were caused by Salmonella. In one of the most complete studies of the total production-through-processing system, researchers analyzed 3,150 samples during a 2 year systematic study that followed 18 broiler flocks from the hatchery, to grow-out, through slaughter to the final food product. They concluded their data showed a clear decrease in the relative importance of the hatchery and grow-out operations in control of Salmonella contamination of the (final) end product. There was no correlation between Salmonella contamination during grow-out and the levels of contaminated carcasses after slaughter. Control of the hygienic practices at the slaughter plant was the most significant factor in minimizing Salmonella on carcasses. Therefore, our focus on minimizing Salmonella during poultry processing may pay the greatest dividends.